Location: Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
1375 East 9th Street, Floor 2, Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1785
Cost: $25/person. This cost includes 1 hour of CLE credit, parking, and one drink ticket and snacks.
Time: October 2nd, 2019 4:30-5:30pm Panel Discussion 5:30-6:30pm. Happy Hour and networking
Register : Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association: call 216-696-3525 or Click Here.
Unhoused folks have literally no choice but to use public spaces for respite and survival. Homeless people, like all people, must engage in activities such as sleeping or sitting down, and utilizing the bathroom to survive. However, new developments downtown and the near westside have made it harder for people to utilize public spaces. The laws and enforcement practices that punish the presence of visibly homeless people seem to be growing in our community.
Homelessness remains a local and national crisis. In Cuyahoga County, around 10,000 people seek safety in our local homeless shelters, which are full every single night. There are over 200 people camping on the streets on any given night. Furthermore, a lack of affordable housing, stagnated wages, structural racism and an insufficient social safety net have left thousands of people unhoused or at-risk of homelessness in our community. Family homelessness is at a crisis level with a 35% increase over the last 4 years and 2,972 homeless students in public schools. Throwing people in jail does not solve homelessness –it is expensive and wasteful, exasperates a housing crisis, and does not address the real causes of homelessness.
Homelessness is not the fault of the families, youth, veterans, and other individuals on our streets and requires all of us to work together to address it. Lawyers play an important role in representing clients that are experiencing homelessness to help reduce housing discrimination and navigate the criminal justice system
Join us for a panel discussion from local civil rights lawyers and advocates to learn about the current trends in Cleveland, key local ordinances, and explore solutions to this growing trend. We will have local experts to discuss the constitutional issue and best practices for lawyers to work with their client. The speakers will offer helpful advice for defending clients as well as long-term policy and legal solutions.
Elizabeth Bonham, Staff Attorney ACLU
Elizabeth loves civil rights litigation. As Staff Attorney, she plans and litigates impact cases, manages our student law clerk program, and works with our policy and legislative teams on long-term advocacy campaigns. Since joining the ACLU of Ohio she has been involved in litigating major cases including defending voting rights in APRI v. Husted and protestor rights in Abdur-Rahim v. Columbus. Her current work focuses on ending mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty and working to abolish the prison industrial complex.
Elizabeth received her B.A. from Warren Wilson College in 2011. She graduated magna cum laude from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 2015 as the Dean’s Learn Law, Live Justice scholar. She was selected as her class’s commencement speaker because of her contributions to improving access to justice in the community.
Outside of her work at the ACLU, Elizabeth is an urban farmer in Cleveland. She serves on the boards of the New Agrarian Center, The Fair Housing Center, and LegalWorks Clinic, and is a proud member of the National Lawyers Guild. She is part-time faculty at Cleveland State University.
Chris Knestrick, Executive Director, NEOCH
Chris Knestrick is the Executive Director of Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. He has over 10 years of experience working with the homelessness in Cleveland and directing advocacy efforts in the international and local community. Chris has been committed to organizing work, undoing oppressions, and nonviolent resistance that centers the voices most impacted by public policy and state violence. His work has taken him from the streets of Cleveland to the mountains of Colombia, South America. He is a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary. He loves boating, fishing, and building community. He spends his day thinking about how to get the community to love so fiercely that homelessness is unimaginable.
Maria Smith, Supervising Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Maria Smith is a supervising attorney for the Housing Practice Group of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. She serves as co-chair of the Housing Committee for the Greater Cleveland Reentry Strategy Coalition. Maria participates in the Citizens Advisory Council of Lutheran Hospital, and in 2015 received the Community Service Award from Cleveland Clinic - Lutheran Hospital. Maria has served on the Board of The Metanoia Project, which serves people who are disinclined to use the emergency shelter network in Cuyahoga County. In her leisure time, Maria co-founded The Eating Cooperative, a new venture in which everyone, including people who are reentering, are welcomed. The motto of The Eating Cooperative is practicing good stewardship to create shared abundance. Maria is an active member of The Cleveland Nonviolence Network. She graduated from the University of Virginia Law School.
Freeman Jackson Jr. – Community Activist
Freeman Jackson grew up in Oakwood Village and graduated from Bedford High School. After serving 10 years in the Army, he attended The Ohio State University and returned to Cleveland. He speaks form his own experiences utilizing public spaces while being homelessness and housing insecure. For the last 20 years, he has participated in local advocacy efforts toward furthering human rights, ending systemic racism and preventing homelessness.
Zora Raglow-DeFranco is a dual law and social administration degree student at Case Western Reserve University. She was a Summer Associate at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in the summer of 2019, and is currently completing her field placement at the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio in downtown Cleveland. Before moving to Ohio, Zora attended SUNY Geneseo in New York (2013-2017) and worked as the Project Coordinator for a Community Action Program in Rockland, Maine (2017-2018).