Lauren Song’s work as a housing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services is inspired by her own experience of homelessness as a child when her mother became ill. Her family relied on food stamps and lived in a dangerous building that had been condemned. Growing up as a first-generation immigrant in Koreatown in Los Angeles, Song was struck by the courage and resilience shown by poor people navigating myriad personal and structural challenges to survive daily—an experience that informs her understanding of the complex issues and barriers her clients face.
Song calls access to affordable, decent housing the “umbrella issue” because of its far-reaching impact on people’s health, safety, and educational and economic opportunities. Described by her colleagues as the consummate community lawyer, Song is tireless in the pursuit of social and economic justice for her clients, eking out victories where none seem possible. She loves her role as a community lawyer, knowing her work is directed by the community’s own prioritization of legal needs, and because working in close partnership with local organizations allows legal aid programs to stretch limited resources and make broader impacts that reach beyond individual cases. Song relishes being able to apply her expertise and life experience to make a long-term difference in people’s lives. “What could be better?” she asks. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m grateful to be a legal services attorney.”