Urban Justice Center-Mental Health Project



Summer Undergraduate Internship 2014

Who Are We?

The Mental Health Project of the Urban Justice Center is a team of attorneys, social workers and advocates dedicated to enforcing the rights of low-income New Yorkers with mental illness. We represent individual clients, bring class action lawsuits, and engage in community education with the belief that low-income people with mental illness are entitled to live stable and full lives, free from discrimination.

What Do We Do?

  • Homelessness Prevention/Income Maintenance: Represent clients in housing matters and advocate for social policies that combat homelessness. Ensure that clients have access to benefits, including food stamps, Social Security, and public assistance.
  • Discharge Planning: Enforce state and federal laws requiring hospitals, jails, and prisons to provide people with mental illness with crucial social services prior to discharge.
  •  Criminal Justice: Fight against the criminalization of mental illness and for the humane treatment of people in prison with mental illness.
  • Disability Rights: Advocate for the rights of people with mental illness to live in the least restrictive setting appropriate, and to be active participants in decisions regarding their lives.

Job Description

We seek full-time summer undergraduate interns to help us advocate for low-income and homeless people with severe mental illness in New York City. Interns work directly with our small team of lawyers, social workers, and advocates, and in return learn a great deal about launching careers in social justice. Common intern assignments include assisting with fundraising and grant reporting; obtaining and filing court documents; proofreading legal memos and other documents; file and data management; assisting attorneys and case handlers with client meetings; and accompanying attorneys and case handlers, as needed, to court, hearings, hospitals, and jails. Undergraduate interns will also have the opportunity to attend advocacy and legal education trainings held at the Urban Justice Center during the summer. Summer interns work 40 hours per week for a minimum of ten weeks.


  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent organization skills and attention to detail
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice
  • Proficiency in Spanish is a plus

How to Apply

To apply, please send a resume and a cover letter indicating why you are interested in an internship at the Mental Health Project to Maya Leszczynski, Project Coordinator, at mhp@urbanjustice.org. Please write “Summer Undergraduate Internship 2014” in the subject line of the e-mail.

We cannot respond to telephone calls, emails, or other inquiries concerning applications.

People of color, LGBTQQ individuals, individuals who have personal experience with poverty, and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Urban Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer.

For more information, go to: http://www.urbanjustice.org/ujc/projects/mhp.html

Jelisa Adair

I am the Civic Engagement Fellow for 2013-2014. While a student at Wesleyan I double majored in Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and completed a joint thesis during my senior year. I am interested in issues of social justice, mental health, media, and global welfare.