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Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Cases & Credits

A homeless mother living in a family shelter in Manhattan with her three-year-old daughter

Ms. L., a homeless mother living in a family shelter in Manhattan with her three-year-old daughter, had no money when she first applied for food stamps, public assistance and Medicaid. Yet the City denied her application for benefits without any explanation. Ms. L. proceeded to reapply for benefits four more times during the course of seven months, only to be denied on each additional attempt. She was forced to go to food pantries daily and borrow from others.

With no money for food, and frustrated with the system, Ms. L. attended an intake session for the Legal Clinic for the Homeless in January 2008. Her volunteer attorney discovered that the City had improperly denied each of Ms. L.'s four applications for assistance. The attorney requested a State fair hearing on her behalf. Ms. L. won her case and an administrative law judge ordered the City to issue to Ms. L. and her daughter over $1,600 in retroactive benefits and to provide ongoing assistance.