American Bar Association launches national Homeless Youth Legal Network (HYLN)

Homeless youth in the United States remain a largely invisible segment of the homeless population, though researchers estimate that nearly eight percent of youths experience living on the streets.

In an effort to increase legal services for this vulnerable population, the ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, Commission on Youth at Risk, and Section of Litigation Children’s Rights Litigation Committee recently announced the official launch of the ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network (

HYLN is designed to serve:

• Homeless youth seeking legal assistance

• Service providers working with homeless youth

• Lawyers seeking training or technical assistance

The HYLN  has launched a website, which contains additional information about the network, and will be a repository for resources related to meeting homeless youth’s legal needs.

The HYLN?also surveyed more than 300 individuals and groups about the legal needs of youth; launched a listserv for attorneys and other advocates with more than 250 members; began providing training and technical assistance to legal services providers and homelessness programs.

The Homeless Youth Legal Network has identified 12 model programs across the country to highlight promising practices, and to illustrate the value of providing legal services to homeless youth. These programs will document best practices, serve as models for replication, provide technical assistance to emerging programs and share data on legal barriers and improved outcomes resulting from legal advocacy.


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