Columbia Legal Services organizes its advocacy through the work of four project groups. Each project addresses a segment of the communities served by our oganizational mission, approaching their work using a variety of strategies designed to achieve project-specific goals for our clients.
Here are brief descriptions of our four project groups:
Basic Human Needs Project
The Basic Human Needs Project works to ensure that the laws and rules of Washington ensure the availability of a "safety net" for all Washington State residents living in poverty. Our goal is that children and their families, persons with disabilities, and the elderly receive food, health care, child care, affordable housing, emergency assistance and other forms of public assistance so they can lead dignified lives.
The Basic Human Needs Project employs a variety of tools to achieve the goals and objectives of its clients, including administrative and legislative advocacy, negotiation and, where necessary, litigation, prioritizing those cases that cannot be undertaken by other members of the Alliance for Equal Justice because of funding or other institutional restrictions.
Children and Youth Project
The Children and Youth Project works to improve opportunities for Washington’s children to have safe and stable families and homes, and access to education, health care, and economic stability that will lead them to a successful adult life. Our advocacy on behalf of children who are low-income, at-risk, homeless or in foster care is based on strategies that combine community education and empowerment, research, policy advocacy, and litigation. The work of the Project has resulted and will continue to result in the protection and restoration of childhood for tens of thousands of Washington’s youngest residents.
The Institutions Project represents people confined in Washington's jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, mental health facilities, and facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Our representation focuses on institutional conditions of confinement, discrimination, sentencing and placement, alternatives to institutionalization, and access to courts, as well as issues related to rehabilitation, reentry, and reductions in recidivism.
Working Families Project
The Working Families Project helps families establish and maintain their
self-sufficiency and build strong communities. We advocate on behalf of
our clients for safe and fair employment practices, economic
opportunities, and reduced barriers to financial security. The Project
employs a variety of advocacy strategies to support our clients,
including community education and organizing, public advocacy, economic
development, negotiation and litigation.