NSW Attorney General to launch new homeless legal clinic

The Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) will tomorrow launch a new free legal clinic in Newtown. The clinic will be launched at Newtown Mission, 2 Erskineville Road, Newtown, on Friday, 2 February at 12:30pm by the Hon Bob Debus, MP, NSW Attorney General.

Ms Elisabeth Baraka, the HPLS Co-ordinator, welcomed the Attorney’s continuing support, saying:

We are delighted to have the NSW Attorney General launch the clinic in Newtown. HPLS welcomes the opportunity to work with the lawyers from DLA Phillips Fox, a member of the Public Interest Law Clearing House, Newtown Mission and Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, to provide this very important service to homeless people with legal problems. These three organisations are to be thanked for their willingness to contribute time and resources to this important work.

HPLS was established in May 2004 as a joint initiative of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH). It has provided free legal services to over 1,100 homeless people in its three years of operation. The lawyers provide free legal advice to clients and many of the clients are also represented by HPLS in achieving resolution to their legal problems. HPLS provides legal advice and representation in areas such as housing law, fines, credit and debt, employment, discrimination, victim’s compensation and social security law.

Ms Baraka said, ‘The new clinic began operating late last year and is already making a difference to the lives of homeless people in the area. An example is the work done for a homeless woman who had her bank ATM card stolen and her pension withdrawn from the account after asking the bank to cancel her cards. The HPLS lawyer walked with the homeless woman to the bank and helped her get a statement from the bank for the police. The lawyer then arranged for the bank to advance the woman some money to help her get through to the next pension day.’

HPLS also has legal clinics at The Station Ltd in the CBD, Matthew Talbot Hostel in Woolloomooloo, Parramatta Mission, Streetlevel Mission and Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre in Surry Hills and Edward Eagar Lodge in Darlinghurst.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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