Community Development Project Client Spotlights


Bruin Shelter Opens Doors to Students

Bruin Shelter, a nonprofit organization committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for college students facing homelessness in Los Angeles, opened its doors Fall of 2016 and is currently the second student operated shelter in the nation. Louis, currently Executive Director of Bruin Shelter, remembers how "when we started on this journey to open an emergency shelter for students experiencing homelessness, we knew it would not be easy." Navigating through the process of applying for tax exemption and incorporating a new nonprofit is no simple task, especially for someone with an unstable living environment. Louis found help through Public Counsel's Community Development Project (CDP), and with the assistance of pro bono attorneys at Latham & Watkins LLP, the path for Bruin Shelter began to take shape.

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We support neighborhoods in need.


Public Counsel's Community Development Project provides legal assistance to nonprofits and small businesses to help transform neighborhoods in need.

Too few Angelenos have a home they can afford, jobs that pay enough, green space for their families, and healthcare and other critical services. Public Counsel’s clients provide mental healthcare, serve people who are homeless, and build homes for seniors, former foster youth, and families.

Meet some of the doers and dreamers who are making our community a better place and learn how we helped.

Holiday Venice

Public Counsel negotiated an agreement with the owners of Holiday Venice, one of the last bastions of affordable homes in the historically diverse community of Venice California. The agreement will protect the futures of more than 250 families.

"Public Counsel's Community Development Project is a critical asset to the community -- the legal support it provides to neighborhood based nonprofits greatly enhances our work, translating directly into more affordable homes on the market and fewer families living on the streets."

-Steve Clare, Executive Director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation

Click here to read more about how we protected affordable homes for families in Venice.


Sidewalk Stimulus: $517 million in Economic Stimulus Generated by Los Angeles Street Vendors

Los Angeles' Street Vendors contribute to the economic vitality of the city and yet the current ban on street vending is blocking their full potential. Click here to learn more.


From Living on the Street to Living Her Dream: Entrepreneur Emerges from Homelessness

Kika moved to Los Angeles with the dream of making her small business a success. Although personal challenges led her to spend time in a homeless shelter, she is now back on her feet and successfully expanding her company. Click here to learn how Public Counsel assisted Kika along her incredible journey.


60 New Affordable Homes for Seniors - In Honor of Rosa Parks

Nonprofit organizations Ward Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Women Organizing Resources Knowledge & Services (WORKS) partnered to develop a 60-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors. Click here to learn how Public Counsel and pro bono attorneys helped to make possible the development of the Rosa Parks Villas, a gateway to revitalizing the Crenshaw corridor.


Strengthening the Healthcare Safety Net

Two million Angelenos, including about 200,000 children, are without health insurance. Many depend on nonprofit community clinics for access to free or low cost healthcare. But clinics are struggling with increasingly complex issues that affect their survival: closure of emergency rooms, state and local budget deficits, Medicaid reimbursement battles and uncertainties about the impact of healthcare reform. Click here to learn how Public Counsel helped Los Angeles Christian Health Care Centers to expand their operations and continue providing medical attention to those in need.


Casa del Mexicano

Attorneys, Community Members and the East LA Community Corporation Work to Save Historic Casa Del Mexicano

Built in 1901 as a church, in the 1930s Casa Del Mexicano became a self-help center for the community during the era when thousands of Mexican citizens were being sent home, blamed for stealing scarce jobs during the Great Depression. By the 2000s, it had fallen into disrepair, and the California Attorney General's office took the rare action to dissolve the nonprofit that had mismanaged the historic space. Click here to learn how Public Counsel helped to stave off foreclosure of the century-old property.


Public Counsel's Rapid Response Supports Low-Cost Lending to People Hurt by Economic Crisis

Nonprofit community development credit unions have long offered an economic lifeline to communities that have been abandoned by commercial banks and targeted by high-priced check cashers and predatory lenders. Click here to learn how Public Counsel went into action to help local lenders qualify for federal funding.


How to get help from Public Counsel


Are you a nonprofit or small business who needs legal assistance? The Community Development Project requires prospective clients to complete the appropriate application in order to determine eligibility for legal assistance.

Please click here for our applications for legal assistance.

For more information about eligibility for our legal services or the application process, please call 213-385-2977 x200.

Intellectual Property Protection for Small Business Celebrating Latino Culture

For most people, especially for those who take the L.A. buses, the time spent traveling to and from work is just "downtime." For Martha Barrios, President and CEO of Frijolitos, Inc., the time she spends on the bus is one of the most valuable and productive parts of her day. Click here to learn how Public Counsel assisted Frijolitos take an important step with protecting its intellectual property.


Commercial Lease Review for Nonprofit Serving 30,000 meals to People Living with HIV/AIDS

There have been over 82,000 cumulative diagnoses of HIV infection if Los Angeles County. Project Chicken Soup understands HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses make even routine tasks such as preparing meals challenging, and in some cases, impossible. However, the nonprofit encountered a legal issue that threatened to shut down operations. Click here to learn how Public Counsel's assistance enabled Project Chicken Soup to continue providing this vital service to those in need.


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Maintaining Compliance with Employment Laws for a Nonprofit Serving Our Military Heroes

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that more than 57,000 veterans are homeless each night. Partnerships with nonprofits and individuals have been instrumental in helping LightHouse Social Service Centers offer services to veterans and their families. Click here to learn more about Public Counsel's work with nonprofits such as LightHouse Social Service Centers that are serving veterans at risk of homelessness.


Structuring an Innovative Housing Co-op for Long-term Ownership and Affordability

Los Angeles' affordable housing crisis prevents too many vulnerable Angelenos from meeting their basic needs. Public Counsel assisted residents of the Urban Soil/Tierra Urbana Housing Co-op in setting up an innovative cooperative structure that resulted in 45 units of affordable housing for elderly, low-income Angelenos. Click here to read more about our work with Urban Soil/Tierra Urbana.


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Performing Arts Group Ready to Bring Drama Education to Schools in Need

Kristina Keeney Ivy's life-long dream has been to start a performing arts group. Find out how Public Counsel helped her realize that dream and the impact it has had on nearly 100 students. Click here to read more about our work with Top Billing Entertainment.


Entrepreneur's Healthy Food Dream Gets a Jump-start with Trademark Help

Public Counsel provided intellectual property assistance to Stix & Straws, an up and coming restaurant with a revolutionary idea. Click here to read more about our work with Stix & Straws.


Food Chain Workers Alliance

Cutting the Legal Red Tape for a California Nonprofit Building a Sustainable Food Service Model

Public Counsel obtained tax-exempt status for the Food Chain Workers Alliance, whose members plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food, and organize to improve wages and working conditions for all workers along the food chain. Click here to read more about our work with the Food Chain Workers Alliance.


20 Years After L.A. Riots a Success Story Keeps Growing

The Coalition of Mental Health Professionals formed in the wake of the Los Angeles riots to provide desperately needed mental health services to the South Central community. Twenty years later, it's a success story that keeps getting stronger -- with help from Public Counsel's Community Development Project. Click here to learn more.


Defending City's Approval of 36-unit Affordable Housing Complex for Low-Income Seniors in Koreatown

In 2012, our client Little Tokyo Service Center obtained city approval to develop a four-story, 36-unit affordable housing complex in Koreatown for seniors with low incomes as well as social service space and community rooms. However, the project was threatened when three individuals filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles challenging the approvals for the project. Click here to learn how Public Counsel and pro bono attorneys helped defend the City's approval of the project.


Helping a Nonprofit Serve Up Health Care for Uninsured Restaurant Workers

Nearly 90% of all restaurant workers in Los Angeles don't receive employer health insurance - that's more than 225,000 employees. Public Counsel's support for ROC-United is helping to change that. Click here to read more about our with ROC-United.