Lending the homeless a helping hand

Lending the homeless a helping hand

It’s estimated 49,200 people will sleep rough on the street across Australia this year, and the number is increasing.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) was launched in 1982 with just four staff. Over the following years, PIAC has pioneered public interest advocacy in Australia and tackles difficult social problems that impact on the lives of many Australians.

The organisation plays a leading role in breaking the cycle of disadvantage for people experiencing homelessness by assisting with legal problems. Established in 2004, the PIAC Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) brings together 500 pro bono lawyers from leading law firms to provide legal assistance at 15 locations around Sydney and Newcastle.

Since early 2019, Lawyers from Hunt & Hunt Sydney have been involved in running the fortnightly HPLS clinic at Matthew Talbot Hostel in Woolloomooloo, providing people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, with free legal help with a broad range of criminal and civil legal problems.

The Hunt & Hunt team features a range of staff members – from graduate lawyers through to partners. The team members view it as a rewarding and meaningful experience that allows them to give back to the community.

“Being part of the clinic is a truly rewarding experience; the work of the clinic is vital in highlighting to disadvantaged members of society that their problems are important and that there are meaningful avenues available to them to help solve their legal problems,” said Lawyer, Yasmin Cherry.

“It gives me a chance to use my legal skills to assist at-risk people in the community and an opportunity to see a different side of life that sometimes we too easily overlook,” added Jessica Baldwin, Senior Associate.

This important work with PIAC is just part of the exciting pro bono and community involvement programme that Hunt & Hunt offers to its employees. The team is proud to be able to assist HPLS and to support PIAC’s vision for a fair, just and democratic society.