One lawyer | A “street” programme supporting street-connected people
A whole new programme, totally different than any other legal aid programme, has recently began from HumanRights360 in partnership with Steps. The “Street Lawyering” programme is providing legal aid in vulnerable groups of people/persons who live on the street, such as homeless, users of psychoactive substances and sex workers.
Welfare state was created to balance society’s weaknesses. However, lots of socially marginalized people cannot address to state services for a variety of reasons, including their situation/status but also the structure and operation of the system. People in the bounds of wretchedness, victims of the financial crisis, drug users, sex workers, recognized refugees, migrants without legal documents in search for food, now can discuss their legal issues or other problems that in many cases may be responsible for the situation they are into and get information regarding their rights.
The aim of the action is the investigation of legal and pending issues of street-connected people which, apart from the personal burden, often are the cause of the situation they are in. An attempt to investigate and resolve these issues may be the first way out, the start for an overall integration, or even the reduction of fear towards the unknown; justice, police, administrative and bureaucratic procedures. At the same time, we aim to discuss with relevant stakeholders all the legal changes and possible interventions in order to improve access to rights and living conditions for homeless people.
Our lawyer, Katerina Pournara, participating in STEPS’s field team is in the streets in the center of Athens providing legal aid to the abovementioned vulnerable groups, three days per week. “Usually the lawyer sits on his or her desk providing advice or solutions already determined from the initial request. By inverting the common practice, in a world already moving upside down, we got out on the street to understand the truth, investigate the request, provide advice and assistance to people who at this point may not be able to ask for it”, she highlights on the work she has taken over through the programme.
For more information:
Emmanouela Soldatou, Research and Advocacy Coordinator in STEPS, email: [email protected], tel.: 6989776739
Fotini Kokkinaki, Communication Officer in HumanRights360, email: [email protected], tel: 6970280150