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American Bar Association

Commission on Homelessness and Poverty Pro Bono Activities

Commission on Homelessness and Poverty

Chairs: William H. Hoch


Amy E. Horton-Newell

(202) 662-1693


LINK: http://www.abanet.org/homeless


The Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, which consists of 13 members, has jurisdiction over matters affecting the needs and concerns of poor and homeless people and the impact of laws, litigation and the legal profession on them. In carrying out its responsibilities, the Commission:

1) encourages and assists in the development of bar and law school pro bono programs which provide legal and other services to homeless and near homeless people;

2) educates members of the bar and the public to legal and other problems of poor and homeless people and ways in which lawyers can assist in solving or ameliorating them;

3) trains lawyers in areas needed to provide pro bono legal assistance to homeless and near homeless people;

4) works with all ABA entities on issues arising in their jurisdiction that affect poor and homeless people; and

5) engages in such further activities as may be necessary and proper for the fulfillment of these responsibilities, including working with state and federal executive branches and legislative bodies concerning matters relating to the poor and homeless.

Volunteers and Cases:

The Commission has 13 members (plus 12 liaisons). The Commission does not provide direct services, nor does it seek to involve lawyers in direct projects.


John J. Curtin, Jr. Justice Fund Legal Fellowship

The Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program is managed jointly by the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty and the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. The Program pays a $2,500 stipend to 3 students who spend the summer months working for a bar association or legal services program designed to prevent homelessness or assist homeless or indigent clients or their advocates. The Legal Internship Program provides much-needed legal assistance to organizations serving the under-represented and gives students direct experience in a public interest forum. Through this, it aims both to help homeless clients and to encourage careers in the law which further the goals of social justice.

The John J. Curtin, Jr. Justice Fund, a permanent endowment in the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education, was created to honor Jack Curtin, ABA President from 1990-91. In acknowledgment of his outstanding achievements, as well as the affection ABA members and staff have for Jack, his colleagues in the Association collected over $100,000 within a year of his leaving office to establish the fund. Jack's long-standing dedication to issues of social justice and civil rights led to approval by the ABA Board of Governors to use the income from the Justice Fund to provide stipends to law students working to help homeless and indigent people.

Updated: 12/14/2006

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