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The Legal Barriers to Employment Project--A New Model

By Stephen Bingham & Luna Yasui

When low-income clients seek employment, they often face myriad barriers, many of which are legal in nature—suspended driver’s licenses, bench warrants, or child-support arrears, for example. Ten years ago Bay Area Legal Aid’s public benefits unit turned its attention to the removal of these barriers through its Legal Barriers to Employment Project, leveraging its strengths to channel federal funding streams to assist clients in achieving stability and leaving welfare. Advocates elsewhere may be able to tap new resources, through the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to support similar work.

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