Baker McKenzie has partnered with Mondelēz International, Covenant House New York, and youth development organization The Door in a joint pro bono effort to create the New York Homeless Youth Handbook, a guide to help homeless youth better understand their legal rights, responsibilities and resources. New York is the fifth state in the US to have this resource.
A team of more than 75 lawyers and staff dedicated over 1,000 hours to research, write and edit the handbook, which covers critical topics such as education, healthcare, housing, parenting and consumer credit issues.
"The Door is very grateful for this new resource for the homeless youth of New York," said Eve Stotland, Director of The Door's Legal Services Center. "As an organization that works to empower young people, we believe this handbook will be a critical resource for many of the young men and women who walk through our doors, and for the adults across the state who are dedicated to helping them thrive."
This handbook was designed to help empower youth experiencing homelessness in New York with state-specific guidance in a youth-friendly question-and-answer layout.
"Homeless youth face many legal challenges that obstruct their path to self-sufficiency and stability," said Gerd Pleuhs, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Mondelēz International. "Empowering these youth to effectively navigate through their struggle against homelessness requires access to effective legal resources to protect their basic rights and equip them with tools to move beyond their current realities toward safety and security. We’re proud to have contributed some of our team’s legal skills to this worthy effort.”
The online resource will be shared with schools, libraries, public agencies, social advocates and others throughout New York starting in March at the mobile-friendly website. The digital version of the handbook is also easily adaptable should New York laws change.
The Homeless Youth Handbook project is an excellent example of how collaboration among in-house counsel, non-profits and law firms can exponentially increase assistance to those in need.
Michael Wagner, Chair of the Firm's Global Pro Bono and Community Service Committee
"Through partnerships like this one, we are providing hundreds of thousands of children in the US with easily accessible, clear guidance on their legal rights, and we are grateful to the teams at Mondelēz International and The Door for their collaboration to empower homeless youth in New York," he added.
Baker McKenzie previously partnered with other clients and non profits to produce handbooks for homeless youth in four other states — Texas, Washington, Minnesota and Illinois. All of the handbooks can be accessed from HomelessYouth.org