Each year, the National Homelessness Law Center’s McKinney-Vento Awards honor one institution that has shown leadership in the fight to end homelessness and poverty. S&C is proud to be the 2021 recipient of their Pro Bono Counsel Award, recognized for our work assisting the NHLC during the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected people experiencing homelessness.
A team of four S&C lawyers helped capture critical information that enabled the NHLC to assess, in real time, how communities nationwide could best serve the health needs of unhoused people. The S&C team tracked public and private sector COVID-19 response policies from across the United States and created a comprehensive resource center that provided states and local governments with the information and tools they needed to implement those best practices.
“I was so inspired by the S&C team’s efforts on this project,” said S&C partner Julie Jordan, who helped lead the team advising on the matter. “Reports indicated that homeless individuals affected by COVID-19 would be twice as likely to be hospitalized, 2-4 times as likely to require critical care, and 2-3 times as likely to die than the general population. Finding and capturing effective policies and presenting them in a way that other community leaders could easily access allowed the NHLC to have a meaningful impact on reducing COVID-19 among this vulnerable population.”
Commitment to pro bono work has been a core value of S&C since our founding. S&C lawyers are involved with 350+ pro bono projects currently, including a longstanding partnership with the NHLC, which was founded by former S&C litigation associate Maria Foscarinis in 1989. S&C has assisted the NHLC with developing the “Housing Not Handcuffs” initiative to shift the focus of law and policy from criminalization to the right to housing for all homeless and vulnerable people; as well as by participating in the Education Rights for Homeless Families Clinic advising homeless people on their children's educational rights.
S&C lawyers Julie Jordan and Justin Smallwood accepted the award on behalf of the Firm. Other honorees included Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Jessica Bruder, author of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, and Chloé Zhao, director of the Academy Award-winning film adaption of Nomadland.
Learn more about our pro bono practice here.
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