Co-founder and J-SUP President of the Board, Bill Cohen, along with externs, clerks, and volunteers (attorneys, paralegals, advocates) provide ad hoc and emergency services on a rolling and as-needed basis. Our work includes:
Summer Sheltering: In an exciting breakthrough in support of summer homeless sheltering and services, the City of Boulder has agreed to fund a proposal by Bridge House with a letter of support by BOHO, to launch walk-up sheltering coupled with services including intake, assessment, navigation and direct financial assistance for basic needs, starting in early July 2017. BOHO will contribute its staff and expertise in managing the shelter component of this project, called “The Path to Home.” J-SUP volunteer attorneys Bill Cohen (President, J-SUP) and our newest volunteer attorney, Sandy Lilley, have been volunteering with the project by drafting an Operations Manual for this new entity. Cohen and Lilley will continue to serve on Path to Home’s advisory committee, thereby placing our representatives at the heart of cutting edge policy development for homeless people in Boulder.
CU Exclusions: Introduced to clients after representing them at Municipal Court in 2016, Bill Cohen and Eleanor Brode learned that homeless and near-homeless individuals were being excluded from CU Boulder’s campus on questionable bases with an appeals process grossly deficient in meeting the elements of due process. Homeless persons are given expulsion orders by the CU Police for various unposted alleged violations of CU rules and policies, and there is no legal services responsible for representing appeals of these exclusions. In fact, although attorneys may be present during an appeal, they are not permitted to speak. After conducting investigations and filing appropriate documents on behalf of two clients with multiple cases, J-SUP volunteer attorneys successfully had three exclusions dismissed; in one instance, a warning was issued.
Disability Rights: Through representation of clients in Municipal Court during summer 2016, Bill Cohen and Eleanor Brode uncovered the unique challenges facing disabled indigent clients. In court, interpreters for the hearing impaired are provided, but out of court, there is no funding available to provide such interpreters. This posed a dilemma for J-SUP attorneys who sought to meet with a client to prepare for trial when that client could neither hear nor speak. In this case, J-SUP volunteer attorneys coordinated with the Court to arrange to have a Court interpreter present at the Courthouse before the trial to facilitate our meetings with our client. This raised the issue: How may volunteer attorneys effectively represent disabled indigent clients in trial preparation? Meeting with homeless and near-homeless individuals poses challenges to effective representation since often it is difficult to communicate with individuals who do not have a consistent and steady lifestyle, but J-SUP identified an even more complex area for indigent clients: when clients have disabilities that further preclude arranging and attending meetings.