Frontline community workers from the local area meet in Lismore
today to hear first-hand stories about homelessness and the impact of the
legal system on disadvantaged people.
The community service workers will join a one-day training workshop
presented by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and Legal Aid NSW. The
workshop is being held to mark National Homeless Persons Week 2011.
Called Law for Non-Lawyers, the workshop addresses common legal
problems faced by homeless people. These include problems with fines and debt,
tenancy problems, guardianship, discrimination and problems with Centrelink.
One of the workshop speakers is Kevin, a person whose own experience of
homelessness shatters the stereotypes. Kevin now contributes to government
advisory bodies as a voice for homeless people.
Law for Non-Lawyers will also provide information for local community
workers about Legal Aid’s new homeless outreach service, which is a recent
addition to Legal Aid’s other free Civil Law advice services in the area.
Legal Aid Solicitor, Lurline Dillon-Smith, said the aim of Legal Aid’s
homeless outreach service is to assist clients to deal with their legal issues.
‘This can break the cycle of homelessness or prevent circumstances
leading to homelessness,’ Ms Dillon-Smith said.
Legal Aid’s homeless outreach service currently runs three specialist
legal clinics in the Northern Rivers region, including a clinic every Wednesday
at Lismore Soup Kitchen at The Winsome.
PIAC Media and
Communications Officer, Dominic O’Grady: (02) 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169
Senior Civil Law Solicitor,
Legal Aid NSW, Lurline Dillon-Smith: 6621 2082 or 0447 891 355