• Pro bono lawyers from Baker McKenzie, in partnership with Youth, Rights & Justice and with support from Nike volunteers, have released 12th state-specific handbook in the U.S.

Global law firm Baker McKenzie, in partnership with Youth, Rights & Justice and with support from Nike volunteers, today announced the publication of the Oregon Homeless Youth Handbook, an online resource designed to empower young people to understand their legal rights and take action to build safe, stable futures with Oregon-specific information.

Homelessness creates an endless cycle of social and economic challenges for youth that can lead to involvement with the justice system and prevent them from reaching their full potential. An estimated 1,314 unaccompanied youth in Oregon were identified as living on their own and without consistent access to shelter. In Oregon schools, nearly 23,765 students were estimated to be experiencing some form of homelessness over the course of the school year, and their struggles have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Homeless Youth Handbook is an online resource written in plain language and in a youth-friendly, question-and-answer format. The resource will be shared with schools, libraries, public agencies, social advocates and others throughout Oregon.

“This Handbook addresses an important gap by providing homeless children and their advocates with an educational tool about their rights,” said Heather Busby, executive director of Youth, Rights & Justice. “It also guides these vulnerable youth to the critical resources they need to achieve stability and support. We are proud to have contributed to this project."

Nearly 40 volunteers from Nike’s Legal team donated about 2,000 hours of pro bono effort to research, write, and edit the handbook, which covers topics including education, domestic and dating violence, healthcare, and more.

The Oregon edition of the Homeless Youth Handbook marks the 12th version of the resource, which is now available in 11 states and Washington, DC. Baker McKenzie has published each handbook in collaboration with different partner organizations. Learn more here.

“We embrace the opportunity we've had to collaborate with organizational partners to publish the Homeless Youth Handbook in twelve states and counting," said Colin Murray, North America Chief Executive Officer at Baker McKenzie. "This project demonstrates how collaboration among in-house counsel, non-profits and law firms can exponentially increase assistance to those in need, particularly the most vulnerable among us."

Added Jaclyn Pampel, Baker McKenzie Pro Bono Partner, "We thank our partners at Youth, Rights & Justice and the Nike volunteers for the time and talent they dedicated to the Oregon edition of the Homeless Youth Handbook. Producing these handbooks is no small feat, and these partnerships are invaluable as we work to expand the availability of clear, critical guidance for vulnerable youth across the country."

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