May/June 2012
bttopCleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
Issue No. 19
CMBF with taglineSummer Intern Position




The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation, which funds CHLAP and other pro bono initiatives of the Bar Association, has approved funding for a law student intern for CHLAP during the 2012-13 Bar year.  The student intern will provide administrative support, including updating the volunteer manual, communicating with volunteers, collecting intake forms and other data, and keeping program statistics and metrics, among other duties. 

Final details of the internship are to be determined, including whether the position will be a summer engagement or a part-time placement during the school year.  If you would like to suggest projects for the intern, please contact CHLAP Chair Melissa Zujkowski by email or by calling (216) 583-7364.

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Spotlight on Success


Cleveland Student David Boone Worked Hard to Go from Homeless to Harvard 

On May 20, The Plain Dealer published an article featuring David Boone, a formerly homeless 18-year-old who has graduated from the MC2STEM High School in Cleveland and is headed to Harvard University in the fall.  This feature describes the aspiring engineer's story, from the nights he spent sleeping in the parks off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to his hard work and dedication to graduating as salutatorian of the new high school's first graduating class. 

For full featured article, click here.

Progress in the Legislature 


Ohio Felon "Redemption" Bill Nearly a Law

Roughly 2 million Ohioans with criminal records may have an easier time finding work and therefore be less likely to commit another crime, under a bill headed to Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to sign it. The bill also attempts to trim the number of ways Ohioans can lose their driver's licenses and make it easier for suspended drivers to regain their driving privileges. The Ohio House on June 13 unanimously approved the bill that would reduce the number of post-prison and post-conviction sanctions offenders face.  Supporters of the bill say it helps make communities safer by reducing recidivism rates. The bill also calls for reducing the penalties for driving under suspension if it was imposed for a non-traffic offense, allowing courts to impose community service in lieu of license suspension and to grant some driving privileges to those who lost them because they are behind in child support payments.

Click here for full article by the Dayton Daily News.

R.I. State Senate Approves "Homeless Bill of Rights"

Rhode Island's governor is expected to sign into law the first "Homeless Bill of Rights" in the nation as early as next week, banning discrimination against homeless people and affirming their equal access to jobs, housing and services. The legislation, which won final approval by the state Senate June 13, bucks a national trend of municipalities outlawing behaviors associated with homelessness such as eating, sleeping and panhandling in public spaces. The Rhode Island law would guarantee homeless people the right to use public sidewalks, parks and transportation as well as public buildings "without discrimination on the basis of his or her housing status." It also guarantees a "reasonable expectation of privacy" with respect to personal belongings.
Upcoming clinics & events


Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Clinics

For a calendar of Legal Aid brief advice/intake clinics, please visit the Legal Aid website at

Cleveland Lawyers' Initiative on Reentry (CLIR)
Brief Advice/Intake Clinics

North Star Neighborhood Reentry Resource Center, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Second Wednesday of the month
Periodic training sessions for new volunteers TBA - call Brian Lamb at (216) 566-5590 for more information.
In the News 


VA Partnership Aims to House 10,000 Homeless Veterans

On May 30 the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it will collaborate with the 100,000 Homes campaign and its 117 participating communities, including some in Northeast Ohio, to help find permanent housing for 10,000 vulnerable and chronically homeless veterans this year. According to the 2011 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress, homelessness among veterans has declined 12 percent since January 2010. The new initiative is intended to help accomplish Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki's goal of ending veteran homelessness in 2015. It will also support the ongoing work of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and a host of state and local organizations working to implement "Opening Doors," the federal plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness. The 100,000 Homes campaign is a national movement of over 100 communities working together to find permanent homes for 100,000 vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals and families by July 2014. The new partnership will better integrate the efforts of VA case managers and their local partners by leveraging VA resources and those of participants in the "100,000 Homes" campaign. The campaign's national support staff, provided by New York-based non-profit Community Solutions, will also work with VA to provide technical assistance to help communities reduce the amount of time necessary to house a single homeless veteran.
Click here for full article.

Denial of Social Security Benefits Perpetuates Homelessness
On May 16 the Wall Street Journal reported that a recent report released by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty shows that bureaucratic barriers are preventing thousands of homeless Americans from accessing Social Security disability benefits that could help them get off the street. Social Security benefits are critical to keeping people with disabilities in stable housing through income support and health services, but the application process is cumbersome and freezes out many eligible homeless people: while up to 40 percent are potentially eligible due to physical or mental disability, only 14 percent actually receive benefits. One key barrier is the severe restriction on the types of health care workers who can provide a medical diagnosis, as most health clinics for homeless people are staffed by non-doctors, and as a result homeless people's disability claims lack accepted medical evidence.
Click here for full article.  To read the full report, click here. 
In This Issue
Spotlight on Success
Progress in the Legislature
Upcoming clinics & events
In the News
Volunteer Spotlight
Updated JE Forms
Archived Newsletters

Volunteer Spotlightgavel1

Donna M. Busser

Auditor of State of Ohio


Donna takes a leadership role at the joint CMBA/Legal Aid Pro Se Divorce Clinics, and has also taken on extended representation of CHLAP and Legal Aid clients on domestic relations matters. She has volunteered with Legal Aid's Save the Dream program representing clients in home loan modifications / mediations with mortgage lenders and has been an active participant in Legal Aid's brief advice and referral clinics both as a student volunteer while in law school as well as a volunteer attorney.

In addition, she has served as a judicial panelist in several local and state mock trial and We the People competitions held by the CMBA and the Ohio Center for Law Related Education. Donna is currently employed by the Auditor of State of Ohio, Dave Yost, in the Financial Audit Division.


Donna can be reached at (216) 787-3665 or by email at

Updated JE Forms
Please note that the following updated domestic relations forms are available for download (click on title):
Archived CHLAP Newsletters

Issue 18 - April 2012

Issue 17 - February/March 2012

Issue 16 - January 2012

Issue 15 - December 2011

Issue 14 - November 2011

Issue 13 - October 2011

Issue 12 - September 2011
Issue 11 - August 2011
Issue 10 - June/July 2011
Issue 9 - May 2011
Issue 8 - April 2011
Issue 7 - March 2011
Issue 6 - February 2011
Issue 5 - January 2011
Issue 4 - December 2010
Issue 3 - November 2010
Issue 2 - October 2010
Issue 1 - September 2010 

CMBA Logo Clear
Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
This partnership between the CMBA and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless aims to serve those in the community in need of help but least able to access legal assistance. Volunteer lawyers staff regularly scheduled sessions at many locations throughout Cleveland, including homeless shelters, to provide legal advice and assistance to homeless or at-risk individuals. Attorneys volunteer at varying levels of commitment, from helping with intake interviews and providing brief advice to accepting referrals for direct extended representation.

Visit CHLAP online - click here for the latest updates, volunteer materials, and other information.

A program of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association  

1301 East 9th Street, Second Level - Cleveland, OH 44114

Tel.: 216.696.3525, Web:  


CHLAP Newsletter author:

Jessica Paine, Assistant Director of Community Programs & Information

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association 

Tel.: 216.696.3525, Email: 

We welcome your comments and suggestions!