Last summer I had the privilege of working at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty thanks to the Equal Justice Foundation summer funding. Before coming to law school, I knew that I wanted to get experience working with legal organizations dedicated to social justice issues, and the EJF summer funding allowed me to do just that. I chose to complete an unpaid internship at NLCHP this summer because I am passionate about issues facing people living in poverty and suffering from homelessness.
At NLCHP, I joined an amazing group of attorneys in their pursuit to end homelessness in the United States. NLCHP focuses on the criminalization of homelessness, housing, and youth and education. I chose NLCHP because it is an organization that understands the complex nature of homelessness and that no one approach can help solve the problem. As such, NLCHP uses direct advocacy, policy work, and impact litigation to create a comprehensive and effective program. No other organization in the country has such a program, and I wanted to be a part of it.
As a legal intern, I was responsible for helping attorneys edit and research portions of No Safe Place: the Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities, speak with advocates, local advocacy groups, and politicians about homeless bills of rights, and attend litigation strategy meetings for a case that challenged Wisconsin’s voting ID law. Each day I had the opportunity to learn more about an issue I am passionate about, gain valuable organizing and writing skills, and help the country end homelessness.
I will never forget my experience at NLCHP, and I have EJF to thank for it. Two weeks before finals, and a month before I started my internship at NLCHP, I had to have foot surgery and was unable to put any weight on my left foot for three and a half months. Without EJF’s summer funding, I would not have been able to afford paying my rent, medical bills, and transportationcosts to and from the office. The EJF funding was absolutely invaluable. I really don’t know what I would have done without it.
EJF’s summer funding allowed me to complete my unpaid internship at NLCHP, and I am forever grateful.
-- Gene Sowa