Home » News » Students Help Pinellas Project Homeless Connect

Students Help Pinellas Project Homeless Connect


Contact Brandi Palmer
Manager of Media Relations
727-562-7381
palmer@law.stetson.edu

Heather Cain, a third-year Stetson Law student, offers a pair of shoes to a client at Pinellas Project Homeless Connect.

Heather Cain, a third-year Stetson Law student, offers a pair of shoes to a client at Pinellas Project Homeless Connect. Click for high-resolution image.

On Saturday morning, Jan. 30, a Homeless Court opened for the first time in St. Petersburg, Fla. More than 40 students from Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport volunteered to help staff a legal clinic for Pinellas Project Homeless Connect during the opening of the new court.

Stetson Law students helped pro bono attorneys work with homeless people to resolve legal issues and complete advanced directives like living wills. Students also spearheaded Project Shoe, collecting and donating more than 270 pairs of shoes to the homeless people attending Saturday’s event at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. Realizing a need for them, the law students also bought and distributed 250 pairs of socks to compliment the shoes.

“Often, Pinellas County’s homeless are treated like they are invisible,” said student volunteer Noah Kores. “But on Saturday, they were catered to and treated with dignity.”

Stephen Lutz (left), a third-year Stetson Law student, discusses living wills

Stephen Lutz (left), a third-year Stetson Law student, discusses living wills with one of the many clients receiving assistance at Pinellas Project Homeless Connect in St. Petersburg on Saturday, Jan. 30. “It’s great to be able to help those who wouldn’t receive help otherwise,” said Lutz. Click for high-resolution image.

Kores, who chaired the legal committee at Project Homeless Connect, said planning for the event began back in August at the start of the fall semester. He approached fellow student Brett Henson about including an Advanced Directives Clinic at Project Homeless Connect.

Henson said the clinic originally began as an initiative to help seniors complete advanced directives like living wills and designation of health care surrogacy. Stetson Law graduate Casey Stoutamire and local elder law attorney Lee Carr launched the initial Elder Law Clinic in 2008 in churches and community centers across Tampa Bay. Student Shanda Moyers began working on the idea of a Homeless Court. Then this past fall, seeing a need for the same services for the homeless, Kores and Henson worked to integrate the Advanced Directives Clinic into the new project.

“I realized that advanced directives are for everyone, not just seniors,” said Henson. “For the clients we worked with at the clinic, we were able to ensure that their wishes regarding end-of-life decisions would be expressed to health care providers.”

Stetson’s American Bar Association Law Student Division, Christian Legal Society and Public Service Fellows pooled resources to host the Advanced Directives Clinic for the homeless at the January opening of the Homeless Court. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the next court date will be Feb. 27 at the Salvation Army Red Shield Lodge in St. Petersburg.

For more information about Pinellas Project Homeless Connect, please visit http://www.pinellasconnect.org/ and for more information about ASAP Homeless Services, please visit http://www.asaphomeless.org/.