Whitney Rubenstein

  • Hosted by East Bay Community Law Center
  • Sponsored by The Clorox Company Foundation, The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
  • Service location Berkeley, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2014
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Whitney is providing a new model of holistic representation to juvenile court-involved Oakland youth and their families who live in subsidized housing in order to prevent eviction and create lasting stability.

Current federal law allows for local public housing authorities to establish broad reaching policies on crime. In Oakland, this means that families can face eviction from public housing if any member of the household or a guest, including a young person, allegedly engages in criminal activity on or off of public housing premises, whether or not charges or a conviction result. When coupled with the disproportionately high arrest rate of youth of color in Oakland, the sweeping nature of this policy has a devastating impact on families. Not only does it lead to homelessness – dissolving family units and uprooting youth from their communities and schools – it also negatively impacts the trajectory of a young person’s juvenile court case. To combat this impact and keep families housed, this project will provide Oakland families at the intersection of the public housing and juvenile justice systems with desperately needed holistic legal and social work advocacy.

Fellowship Highlights

During Whitney’s Fellowship, Whitney:

  • Implemented a holistic legal and social work model of representation
  • Provided full representation to 11 clients and brief services and advice to 30 others
  • Prevented the eviction of families from subsidized housing and helped court-involved youth navigate the juvenile justice system through the provision of direct representation in both housing and delinquency court
  • Conducted outreach to numerous local organizations
  • Started to build a partnership with the Oakland Housing Authority
  • Expanded the holistic model of representation to serve more families at the intersection of the juvenile justice and public housing systems
  • Increased community education and outreach efforts to raise project awareness and reach more people in need of representation
  • Began to track and measure outcomes of clients served by the holistic model of representation

Meet Other Fellows Like Whitney

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Max Tipping

Host: Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Andrew Chen

Host: Public Counsel

Sponsor: Anonymous

Katara J. Jordan

Host: Columbia Legal Services

Sponsor: Intellectual Ventures, Perkins Coie LLP

Emily Benfer

Host: Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Sponsor: The Arnold & Porter Foundation