A new free legal advice clinic has been launched at the 999 Club. Launched during National Pro Bono Week on 3rd November, the appointment based clinic service will be operating on the first Tuesday of every month, providing a vital service which will further support the valuable work being delivered by the 999 Club.
Following training on housing, homelessness and welfare rights facilitated by LawWorks, lawyers from Dechert LLP will provide free legal help on housing law issues, tenancy agreements, tenancy deposit schemes, rent arrears, social housing, repairs and ending leases. With clinics in the LawWorks Network reporting a 64% increase in housing law advice over the last year there is increasing demand for housing law advice and the free legal advice sessions aim to support residents at the shelter who need the service most. By establishing the clinic at the shelter the lawyers are able to better reach people with often complex issues relating to their homelessness who might otherwise find it difficult to access legal help.
999 Club hosts the only winter night shelter in south east London, providing accommodation, warm meals and breakfasts to its residents and this year the shelter will be opened from 1 December through to mid-March 2016. Throughout the whole year the 999 Club also provides a day centre with a range of advice and support services, enabling people to overcome the issues that led to their homelessness.
Peter Wood, Chief Executive of the 999 Club said, ‘the 999 Club is delighted to be able to form a partnership with LawWorks and Dechert. The people who use our services find it difficult to have their voices heard. They lack confidence and knowledge about their rights and can easily be ignored by authority. Their needs are dismissed and, as a result, they do not have opportunities to make changes in their lives. In making this significant commitment Dechert both bring practical expertise and also show our service users that they can speak and be heard.’
Eleni Skordaki, Partner at Dechert LLP said, ‘Dechert has teamed with the 999 Club and LawWorks with a clear objective in mind: to deliver a free housing and homelessness legal clinic here in London that provides access to desperately needed and otherwise unavailable legal advice and support. The law with regard to homelessness is good and extensive and, as lawyers, we can play a big role in ensuring that good law is complied with well.
Martin Barnes, Chief Executive, CEO, LawWorks said ’As we celebrate and acknowledge the passion and commitment of the profession to pro bono in National Pro Bono Week, the launch of the 999 Club free legal advice clinic serves as a reminder of what can be achieved when we work collaboratively to address unmet legal need. This is an exciting new initiative and of tremendous credit to the volunteer lawyers involved’.