NFP: Lawyer works for homeless

As a lawyer who undertakes recovery action for corporate clients and litigious matters for accounting firms specialising in insolvency, Bruce Dodd is familiar with the notion of helping people along the road to recovery.

Mr Dodd has worked in a variety of courtroom environments, from local courts to the state Supreme Court, the Federal Court and the High Court.

The banking litigation expert was mentioned in a recent Euromoney publication among the world's leading insolvency lawyers.

But it's Mr Dodd's pro-bono work helping Perth's homeless that has brought him to the attention of Perth's not-for-profit sector.

Mr Dodd was this month awarded the Attorney General's Community Service Law Award for donating the equivalent of $1 million in legal fees in the provision of legal services to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Australian Red Cross and WA's homeless, through Perth law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

Mission Australia WA director Ross Kyrwood said Mr Dodd's charitable work highlighted a growing trend towards corporations and businesspeople wanting to be pro-active in helping the not-forprofit sector, rather than simply donating money.

"Bruce Dodd's pro-bono work really is the equivalent of donating that money to us, but what he's saying by doing it is that 'well, while I could give you $1 million here go and use it as you see fit, instead I'm going to make a social impact myself'," Mr Kyrwood told WA Business News.

Mr Kyrwood said that, with close to 12,000 Western Australians homeless every night and the number rising, Mr Dodd's work and that of Mission Australia had never been more important.

"More and more these days we see people who become homeless for financial reasons - they can't make their rent or they're too far in debt," he said.

"If we're to make inroads into homelessness, we need to build awareness of the issue at hand." Mission Australia recently entered into an agreement with national real estate company realestate. whereby the company donated $1 to Mission Australia for every person who visited www.

The realtor raised $100,000 in less than 24 hours, with contributions going towards the Youth Accommodation Support Service Program, which offers people aged 15-18 temporary crisis housing and assists them in planning for the future.

Mission Australia figures show that 46 per cent of WA's homeless are below 25 years old, and more than 3,000 cases are turned away from the charity each year because of funding shortfalls.


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