How School-Based Legal Aid Can Help Keep Kids In Class

What if, instead, schools could provide parents with the resources they need to prevent housing instability in the first place, before it causes their children to miss school?
Op-Ed (Connecticut)

Ashley Dalton
Hartford Courant
October 12, 2016

Tags: Education-Legal Partnerships

Organizations mentioned/involved: New Haven Legal Assistance Association (CT)


School-based legal aid provides parents with housing law services from within the school itself. In its first year, the program proved particularly effective in combating eviction. We stopped 95 percent of evictions brought to the school-based legal clinic, and we prevented many more. For example, with a simple demand letter, we got back the New Haven mother’s money and prevented the housing crisis she feared.

Normally, housing lawyers at legal aid step in only when a housing crisis has begun to wreak havoc on a family. But when housing lawyers can help people before eviction papers are served, the benefits are immeasurable and immense, especially for young children.

An eviction can do great harm to child’s grades, attendance and overall academic performance, a number of studies have shown. Students whose families are fighting homelessness are also more likely to be truant or drop out of school completely.