State Bar of Texas Blog

Pro Bono Spotlight: Providing a voice for the homeless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In response to her father’s struggle with homelessness, Jessica Crute looked for a way to make a positive impact in the lives of those who are without a home in Harris County.

With a mission to promote education and advocacy through public art projects and collaborations within the community, Crute sought out legal assistance in obtaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for the nonprofit Voice of the Homeless. Thanks to Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources (Texas C-BAR) pro bono volunteers, Voice of the Homeless is thriving.

Texas C-BAR provided an exceptional opportunity for CITGO In Action volunteer attorneys Holly Nini, Dean Hasseman and Orestes Parilli and staff Leah Center and Liz Aguilar to make an immediate, positive impact on the community. Texas C-BAR’s Pro Bono Legal Referral Program matched the CITGO legal team to help Crute get Voice of the Homeless off the ground.

Pictured, from left, are Robert Garay, Leah Center, Jessica Crute, Liz Aguilar, Dean Hasseman, Orestes Parilli, Jeff Bednar, and Holly Nini. 

The program helps eligible Texas nonprofits working to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods by matching volunteer opportunities with experienced transactional attorneys that will handle a wide array of legal issues including corporate, real estate, tax, and employment law needs on a pro bono basis. Texas C-BAR has an extensive online Legal Resource Library that is maintained to provide access to the most commonly used forms, materials, and other legal documents related to nonprofits and community development law.

Texas C-BAR also works to provide legal education workshops and training to lawyers and those individuals starting or running a nonprofit so they can educate themselves on legal compliance and nonprofit governance matters.

The group’s mission “will be much more successful because of the incredible infrastructure that the CITGO legal staff helped us create for our organization,” Crute said. To Texas C-BAR, she added: “Thank you, again, for linking us to such an incredible team!”

The nonprofit’s first major project spoke loudly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show You Care: If you are interested in volunteering with Texas C-BAR, please complete an Attorney Volunteer Questionnaire. Attorneys participating in Texas C-BAR’s pro bono panel have the opportunity to work on individual, discrete transactional legal matters for a nonprofit. Texas C-BAR sends requests for referrals to attorneys on its pro bono panel via e-mail, which provides information about the nonprofit client, the legal matter being referred, and conflicts information. Texas C-BAR sends these requests to several attorneys and law firms at same time matching areas of expertise and geography. Attorneys who are interested in accepting a specific matter then contact Texas C-BAR staff, who facilitate the referral.

For more information on pro bono opportunities across Texas, contact the State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division at (800) 204-2222, ext. 1855, or at probono@texasbar.com.

 

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