Philly Set Go teams up with Community Legal Services for District Attorney Town Hall
It’s often said that young people are our future. But youth like Tanya, whose story you’ll read below, need tailored support in order to thrive. And you have the opportunity to make a difference for more people like Tanya. Raise your voice, learn about the platforms of our city’s candidates for District Attorney and attend our Millennial Town Hall. All proceeds benefit Community Legal Services (CLS), which helped Tanya and so many other Philadelphia youth and families turn their lives around.
After experiencing childhood trauma and instability, Tanya was determined to break out of poverty and have a chance for her family to thrive.
A sexual assault survivor who had been moved in and out of the foster care system, Tanya grew up experiencing severe mental health challenges as a result of her traumatic experiences. At 17, Tanya was issued a summary citation for retail theft. With no permanent address, she never received the notice for court and a bench warrant was issued. She applied for SSI disability benefits to help support herself and her baby. However, like so many qualified applicants, she was denied. With a criminal record that served as a barrier to employment and without vital public benefits, Tanya lacked the income she needed to afford housing.
Tanya and her baby ended up at a youth homeless shelter, where she came in contact with Community Legal Service (CLS) and its Youth Justice Project (YJP) during monthly clinics. The YJP began partnering with Tanya to help her move forward, intervening at a crucial transition point in Tanya’s life. The YJP was able to get the bench warrant withdrawn and immediately petition for an expungement of Tanya’s record, as well as connect her to a program that helps people who are experiencing homelessness apply for SSI benefits on a fast-track.
Tanya is now on the road to having an income and access to future opportunities. She is eager to enroll in the Job Corps program so she can continue her education and ultimately find a meaningful career.
Did you know Philadelphia’s young people face some of the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness of any age group in the city? Of course, not all young Philadelphians face the same challenges; black youth aged 18-24 were three-and-a-half times more likely to be arrested between 2010 and 2014 than their white peers. LGTBQ+ youth and youth with disabilities are also more likely to be over-criminalized, live in poverty, and experience homelessness.
That’s why Philly Set Go is proud to partner with Community Legal Services (CLS), which has served at the forefront of promoting stability and opportunity for all low-income Philadelphians. To ensure that our youth receive the tailored support they need to thrive, CLS launched the Youth Justice Project (YJP) in January of 2016. YJP works closely with community groups, youth-serving organizations, and young clients to provide comprehensive legal assistance and advocate for needed policy change.
When people who have faced tremendous challenges in their young lives are given the chance to connect with the services and supports they need, rather than being cut off from resources and criminalized, our city becomes a stronger, safer place that ensures opportunity for all.