News Clips

October 16, 2014

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New York Times: A Push for Legal Aid in Civil Cases Finds Its Advocates

Advocates, including Public Counsel's Shriver Project, are at the forefront of new practices that give free legal assistance for indigent clients in civil cases.

Hospital administrators, lawyers, doctors and providers of homeless services explore ways to use technology, outpatient clinics and other means to reduce patient dumping, readmissions.

City cites public health threat in seeking the reversal of a lower-court ruling barring random removal and destruction of unattended personal property.

The demise of redevelopment agencies may turn off the spigot on an Industry-funded program that has paid for 10,000 affordable housing units during the last 20 years. Public Counsel is working to protect the program.

California Lawyer: Section 8 Tenants Unwelcome

The city of Lancaster declares war on federally subsidized renters, claiming Los Angeles County is steering poor tenants to the Antelope Valley.

LA Times: Los Angeles County officials considering welfare crackdown

Advocates for the poor contend the crackdown would end up denying help to some of the region's most destitute residents who are eligible for assistance. "They are absolutely going to cut the number of people" receiving general relief payments, said Jennifer del Castillo, an attorney with Public Counsel Law Center. "But they are going to do this by putting in place these administrative hurdles that people can't overcome, rather than eliminate people who shouldn't have GR."

LA Times: L.A. hospital accused of patient-dumping

Public Counsel filed a lawsuit Friday against a hospital on behalf of Jesse Bravo, alleging elder abuse, false imprisonment and hospital negligence.

LA Times: L.A. County responds to claims of discrimination in Antelope Valley

Hoping to avoid a potentially costly civil rights lawsuit, Los Angeles County will stop providing funds for additional housing investigators to the desert communities of Palmdale and Lancaster, where officials have been accused of targeting nonwhite recipients of federal housing subsidies for eviction and harassment.

Long Beach Gazette: Court For Homeless Offers New Start

For Long Beach City Prosecutor and man he once prosecuted for living on the streets, homeless court was an eye-opening experience.

Daily Journal: Settlement assures low rents

Hundreds of families living in one of West Los Angeles' last affordable housing complexes will get to hang on to their low-rent privileges after a breakthrough Public Counsel lawsuit.

LA Times: L.A. County looks into alleged racism in Antelope Valley housing-subsidy crackdown

The county had been paying half the cost for Section 8 investigators in Lancaster and Palmdale. Supervisors postpone that funding after civil rights groups say the probes are biased against low-income minorities.

LA Times: Suit accuses Lancaster and Palmdale of racial bias in Section 8 crackdown

Elected leaders in Lancaster and Palmdale have waged an "unrelenting war" against low-income blacks and Latinos who receive public assistance in a campaign to drive them out of the historically white Antelope Valley, civil rights lawyers alleged. "The level of hostility in these cities as expressed and enforced by authorities is astonishing," said Catherine Lhamon, a lawyer for Public Counsel, the public-interest law firm representing the plaintiffs.

Daily Journal: Lawyer-Mayor Targeted in Civil Rights Suit

The Daily Journal reports as Public Counsel files a federal lawsuit on behalf of the NAACP and an Antelope Valley community group that alleges discriminatory policies against black and Latino families in Lancaster and Palmdale.

Race, Poverty & the Environment: Los Angeles Coalition Wins Health Clinic and Jobs from Developer

Get the back story about how Public Counsel helped community groups in South L.A. win health care and quality jobs at a luxury housing development. "We sent a message at a critical time that communities are powerful and can win," says Public Counsel's Serena Lin.

LA Times: Residents of Los Angeles County's poorest areas to get help in keeping their homes.

Thousands of residents in Los Angeles' poorest neighborhoods will get new legal help in fighting high-stakes eviction cases involving slumlords and foreclosures under a pilot project approved by the state's judicial leaders Friday.

LA Times: Federal cuts in national service programs could be costly in California

At stake is more than $100 million for groups that build affordable homes, mentor youth, care for the elderly, teach in under-resourced schools and provide other services to some of California's neediest families.

LA Times: City planners approve $250-million residential-retail complex in South L.A.

The L.A. Planning Commission unanimously OKs developer Geoffrey H. Palmer's Lorenzo project after the developer agrees to community demands that he set aside space for a medical clinic there and hire local residents. Public Counsel attorney Serena Lin, who negotiated this agreement on behalf of South Los Angeles community members, is quoted in this article.

KPCC: TraPac expansion brings $16 million (so far) to port communities

Wilmington and San Pedro will benefit from a new community fund - as much as $50 million set aside from Port revenues. This month the fund was finally created as a condition of a memorandum of understanding that allowed the TraPac container area to grow 3 years ago.

LA Times: Arrested Redevelopment: Cities often give short shrift to affordable housing

At least 120 municipalities spent a combined $700 million in housing funds from 2000 to 2008 without constructing a single new unit, a Times analysis of state data shows. Nor did most of them add to the housing stock by rehabilitating existing units. Public Counsel attorney Shashi Hanuman is quoted in the article.

Daily Journal: Working Towards a Sensible Justice System

The Veterans HALO clinic launched on June 16 with lawyers working together with a host of nonprofits to help homeless veterans resolve their legal problems, writes Paul Freese of Public Counsel.

PATH Poverty Insights: Saving the Life, Heart and Soul of the Law

One night Paul Freese, the director of litigation and advocacy for Public Counsel, stopped by Von's to grab some food on his way home from work. This story describes what happened next.

Daily Journal: Tenants Sue Over Low-Income Units

Public Counsel is one of three firms representing the Holiday Venice Tenant Action Committee in a suit that claims that by recently letting the owners of the 1,000-resident complex pay off their HUD-backed loans several years early, the agency stripped the apartments of certain low-rent protections guaranteed while the loans were outstanding.

LA Times: College Hospital to pay $1.6 million in homeless dumping settlement

L.A. city attorney's office says the hospital left more than 150 mentally ill patients on skid row streets. The hospital denies wrongdoing in what prosecutors say is their biggest dumping case to date.

LA Times: Using tax dollars to turn lives around is money well-spent

It isn't cheap, but numerous studies suggest mental health courts cost no more than traditional courts and might prove to be cheaper over the long term, with much more to show for the investment. Judge Michael Tynan, who also a presides over Public Counsel's Homeless Court Program is featured in this column.

LA Times: L.A. sues US Bank over blighted, abandoned homes

The city attorney accuses the bank of being a slumlord and demands that it clean up properties it foreclosed on.

LA Times: California lawmakers pass historic foreclosure protections

California lawmakers have passed legislation that would provide homeowners with some of the nation's strongest protections from foreclosure and such aggressive bank practices as seizing a home while the owner is negotiating to lower mortgage payments.

Daily News: Lawyers prey on foreclosure-facing homeowners in San Fernando Valley and beyond

More than 1,000 homeowners are potential victims of attorneys across the state who are targeting homeowners facing foreclosure as part of the fallout of the mortgage crisis that began in 2007.

LA Times: Bank of America turns foreclosure-facing homeowners into renters

The bank is launching a pilot program that would allow customers with underwater mortgages to avoid foreclosure by becoming renters.

LA Times: Latest HARP program for underwater mortgages ramping up

"HARP 2.0," the second version of the federal mortgage refinancing program, comes with streamlined processing, but some key issues could hinder borrower participation.

LA Times: L.A. hospital accused of patient-dumping

Public Counsel filed a lawsuit Friday against a hospital on behalf of Jesse Bravo, alleging elder abuse, false imprisonment and hospital negligence.

Los Angeles Lawyer: The ABCs of California Foreclosure Law

The real estate meltdown that began in late 2007 has resulted in an unprecedented number of loans in default and a substantial upsurge in foreclosures across the country. California continues to be one of the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

LA Times: Foreclosures expected to rise, pushing home prices lower

Banks are getting more aggressive with the 3.5 million U.S. homes with seriously delinquent mortgages, setting the stage for a big wave of foreclosure action this year.

NY Times: Unemployed mortgage holders get extension on payments

Although home foreclosure rates appear to be stabilizing and unemployment is slowly coming down, there are still millions of jobless borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes because they cannot afford their monthly payments.