The Homeless Youth Legal and Advocacy Project (HYLAP) is made possible by generous grants from the
San Diego County Bar Foundation - Indigent Defense Fund, California State Association of Counties (CSAC)
and LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. This program is a direct response to national estimates which state that
close to 1.6 million children and youth (12-17) experience homelessness without a parent or guardian.
Specifically, there are an estimated 200,000 youth ages 12-17 who experience homelessness every year in
California, many of whom are escaping abuse, only to be further victimized on the street by adults.
HYLAP serves to address criminal defense issues that are hindering homeless youth from positive growth and
our advocacy component will provide them with emotional support as they face legal challenges, connect those
who have been recently displaced with medical and mental health services that will help them back on their feet,
and aid with job resources to assist in their finding employment. In addition, the Project provides an opportunity
to conduct and collect first hand interviews, gathering narratives and personal anecdotes from a group of
individuals that are unseen and, many times, unidentifiable. This gathered information would enable TD to
disseminate findings to the community at large; better understanding an extremely vulnerable population.
TD’s legal services are intended to provide basic dignity to people that face an undeniable stigma for not having
access even to basic resources. It is particularly distressing to be forced to live on the streets or in a shelter; not
only is the act of being homeless a traumatic event, but whatever prompted the person into homelessness might
have been equally traumatic – especially for a young person. TD’s HYLAP serves to empower the homeless and
at-risk youth of San Diego and give this community blighted with poverty, abuse and discrimination an opportunity
for sustainable improvement through quality pro-bono legal services.
If you are interested in supporting Think Dignity with an in-kind donation,
for items we are always in need of, click here