2016 – Graham Bowman
Graham Bowman enrolled in law school determined to use his law license to fight poverty. After six years, Graham has not strayed far from his original goal. He developed a special interest and passion in improving access to healthcare for low-income people, particularly unaccompanied homeless youth.
Since he graduated from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, Graham has been with the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, first as a two-year Equal Justice Works Fellow and currently as a Youth Futures Staff Attorney. In these roles, Graham has served scores of unaccompanied and homeless youth, many with disabilities and severe health needs. When Graham started at the Law Project in 2013 as a fellow, there was no health care practice and limited knowledge of the Medicaid program within the organization. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and Illinois’ expansion of Medicaid, essentially every homeless youth in the state became eligible for coverage. Because of his work during law school at Loyola’s Health Justice Project and several other public interest law organizations, Graham was ideally positioned to spearhead the health care practice within the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Graham expanded the reach of the Youth Futures Program, a mobile legal clinic deployed to schools, shelters, and other non-traditional sites throughout the city where homeless youth congregate. Thanks to Graham, Youth Futures now assists homeless youth navigate our complicated healthcare system in addition to their education and other legal needs.
Graham’s devotion to helping disadvantaged people extends far beyond his work at the Law Project. He has immersed himself in Chicago’s public interest legal community and has become an instrumental part of both the support network for homeless youth in Illinois and the larger advocacy community. In addition to representing individuals experiencing homelessness in approximately 175 cases per year, Graham drafts and advocates for legislation that promotes access to quality healthcare for homeless youth. His most successful legislation, which passed in 2014, allows unaccompanied homeless youth over the age of 14 to consent to their primary health care.