Seattle University’s Homeless Rights Advocacy Project does not represent individuals. It does advocate for legal and policy changes that keep homeless individuals out of the criminal justice system, and provides them with the housing and services they need.
The resources below will help people who are experiencing homelessness or facing the threat of homelessness find legal help.
We've also compiled other resources on criminalization:
Depending upon the type of legal problem or problems you have, and where you are, there may be attorneys who can help. Criminal and civil legal service providers are listed separately.
Washington Law Help offers helpful basic legal information on a broad range of issues at: http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/.
If you are low income person and have an outstanding warrant or have been charged with a crime, or are in jail, and need an attorney to defend you, contact:
King County Department of Public Defense
TTY: 711 Relay Service
The King County Department of Public Defense website has information on eligibility for an attorney, where its screening offices are (and what you need to bring to screening meetings). The information on the website can help you determine if you are eligible for an attorney and find a screening office.
City of Seattle- Municipal Court Indigent Screening Program
Seattle Justice Center
600 Fifth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-1900
2-1-1 is a call service that connects those who qualify with legal aid providers. The number is open for callers Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. From a pay/public phone, call 1-800-621-4636.
The King County Bar Association’s Neighborhood Legal Clinics
These clinics are staffed by volunteer lawyers who provide a 30-minute free consultations to low income individuals with civil legal problems in King County. Attorneys will:
Referrals are offered (for qualifying individuals) for:
You have to make an appointment before attending a clinic. To make an appointment call 206-267-7070 Tuesday - Thursday from 9:00am- 12:00 pm. Appointments are scheduled no more than 7 days in advance. The scheduling line receives a high volume of calls so you may experience wait times between 5 to 10 minutes.
For more information, including clinic locations, see Neighborhood Legal Clinics.
Eastside Legal Assistance Program
The Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) provides high-quality, no-cost civil legal aid to low-income residents of East King County, Washington. They also provide legal aid to survivors of domestic violence throughout all of King County.
Appointments can be made by calling 425-747-7274 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Interpretation services are available for non-English speaking callers. Visit www.elap.org for more information.
Open Door Legal Clinic
Staff and volunteer lawyers at this clinic provide people experiencing homelessness with advice on legal and financial issues, such as:
The Clinic holds 4 weekly legal clinics for residents of the Union Gospel Mission's shelters or other partner organizations around the region, as well as weekly walk-in clinics for anyone who needs help. The Clinic has locations in Downtown Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett.
Contact David Mace — 206-682-4642 or firstname.lastname@example.org — to find out more.
The Tenants’ Union also holds walk-in clinics at the following times and places:
Solid Ground’s Family Assistance Program provides information, advice, referrals, and direct legal representation to individuals who have had their state public assistance benefits (e.g., Basic Food/food stamps, Medicaid, ADATSA, TANF, Disability Lifeline) reduced, terminated, or denied. The program advocates on behalf of clients with DSHS caseworkers, represents clients in administrative hearings, and advises clients representing themselves.
206-694-6742 (TTY: 7.1.1)
Family Assistance at Solid Ground
1501 North 45th Street
Seattle, WA 98103-6708
If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you may ask the court to appoint a public defense attorney to represent you. The determination of eligibility for a court appointed attorney is handled by the local court.
The following counties and cities outside of King County provide local public defender agencies to represent adults and juveniles who are accused of a crime and cannot afford to pay a lawyer. These agencies may be reached at the phone numbers listed. To find public defense help in a county or city not listed below, contact the court in which the charges are filed.
For more information: http://www.opd.wa.gov/index.php/public-defender-offices
You can also get more information via the Northwest Justice Project’s toll-free hotline. The Coordinated Legal Education, Advice and Referral or CLEAR hotline is open for calls from low-income individuals Monday-Friday from 9:15 am to 12:15 pm, at 1-888-201-1014.
If you cannot get through, the CLEAR line will record your phone number. You will receive a call back.
For further information, go to: https://nwjustice.org/get-legal-help
The Northwest Immigrants’ Rights Project (NIRP) provides advice and direct legal help to immigrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, regardless of immigration status throughout Washington. Eligibility depends upon several factors. NIRP has offices statewide.
Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
901 12th Avenue
Sullivan Hall 313
Seattle, WA 98122-1090
Please note: The Korematsu Center will conclude its tenure at Seattle University in June 2024. We are in the process of building a new center for civil rights that will continue this important work. To learn more about those plans and ways that you can support them, please contact Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Affairs Feven Teklu at email@example.com.