About the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless
In 1983, a small number of attorneys working in Downtown Atlanta noticed an overwhelming need for specialized legal services focused specifically on the homeless. They decided to form a nonprofit that could focus solely in this area. Thus, the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless was born. After 30 years of service, the Georgia Law Center continues to play a critical role in the continuum of care for homeless individuals and families in Georgia. By addressing the barriers to stability and independence that often underlie homelessness, the Law Center helps our clients transition out of homelessness. Simply put, we are a top-notch civil law firm, providing quality legal services, but our clients happen to be homeless, and our services are always free.
“ To provide free, quality civil legal services to homeless individuals and families and to play a leadership role in addressing the issues underlying homelessness.”
Cristal T. Waldrop serves as the Executive Director of the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless, assuming this role in 2011. She provides strategic direction and fundraising expertise, and overall oversight of the program. Having always been an active volunteer and philanthropist, after 8 years as a management consultant, she headed to the nonprofit world where she worked in fundraising for United Way of Greater Atlanta and as Director of Development at Open Hand. At both organizations, she worked to cultivate new donors and provide unique donor engagement opportunities and events. Often called upon to share her fundraising knowledge, Cristal has taught classes at The Georgia Center for Nonprofits, The Foundation Center, and has conducted board development sessions for other nonprofits. Cristal enjoys public speaking and has spoken at several law firms and corporations on behalf of the Georgia Law Center. Ms. Waldrop earned a B.S., Commerce from University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Emma Hetherington is a senior staff attorney at the Law Center. In addition to working at GLCH, Emma serves as a Co-Chair on the State Bar’s Young Lawyer‘s Division Advocates for Students with Disabilities Committee. Emma previously served as a Public Interest Fellow at the DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center working as a Child Advocate in deprivation hearings in DeKalb County Juvenile Court. Emma received her J.D. from University of Georgia School of Law, and her B.A. from Emory University.
Dorothy Griffin, affectionately known to all as “Miss Griffin,” has been the Front Office Manager at the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless since 2003. She handles all incoming calls and greets all new clients. Miss Griffin also manages client intake, database entry, the office filing system, and many other duties.
Brian Litvin is a native of Akron, Ohio and received his undergraduate degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice from the University of Akron. He moved to Atlanta in 2011 to join Mission Year, a yearlong program where Christian young adults live, work and volunteer in urban neighborhoods and get to know their neighbors. The Law Center was Brian’s service site, and he served as an Advocate Coordinator during the year. Brian grew to love working with the homeless population and the work itself, and joined the Law Center full-time as a Social Service Advocate.
David Whisnant has served as the Legal Director at GLCH since 2008. His practice focuses on family law, housing, and income related law. David was in private practice prior to joining GLCH, first at McCurdy and Candler in Decatur where he worked in the litigation section and real property section, and then with his own civil law practice. He has owned, renovated and sold numerous low income properties, and lectured nationally on real estate investing and asset protection. David graduated from The University of North Carolina in 1990 and the University of Georgia School Of Law in 1993. Prior to joining GLCH, David spent a substantial amount of his time doing volunteer work with the homeless, and advising low income clients free of charge.
Jane Benjamin-Bonner has served as the Director of Finance and Administration at the Georgia Law Center since 1999, where she manages all financial and administrative operations of the organization, including the MARTA Transportation and Assistance Program for the Homeless. Jane is a graduate of Georgia State University, B.S. and Clark Atlanta University, M.P.A.
Joel Correa joined the GLCH as a staff attorney in July 2012, after having served as a legal intern at the GLCH since November of 2011. He received his B.A. from Berry College and his J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law. As a staff attorney, he focuses primarily on family law, labor law, consumer law, and housing issues. Joel is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico and is fluent in Spanish and French.
Curtis Kester developed a passion for homelessness while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Purdue University, and knew that he wanted to serve the homeless community. In 2009 Curtis moved to Atlanta where he began his non-profit career. Beginning at Central Outreach and Advocacy Center, Curtis worked directly with homeless individuals to provide emergency assistance along with regular referrals to the Georgia Law Center.
Swechhya Pant was born in Nepal, but has lived in the United States for the past ten years. She earned her Bachelor‘s Degree from Hunter College in New York, and then began her career in the nonprofit sector.