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Public Counsel Helps Venice Residents Protect a 'Unique Place'

Public Counsel helped preserve affordable homes in Venice, California for the next generation.

Growing up in Venice's Oakwood neighborhood, Kendra Moore remembers a neighborhood where everyone's door was open, and everyone belonged. For decades the close-knit community of was one of the few places on Los Angeles' Westside where black and Latino residents could buy a home.

But today families who helped build the neighborhood have struggled to hold on as rents spiked and affordable housing disappeared.

"My family moved to Venice to make a better life for themselves," she said. "Venice is a unique place with unique people, and that’s what we are fighting for."

Public Counsel represented Ms. Moore and other residents of Holiday Venice, the largest federally subsidized housing development on Los Angeles' Westside. Just a few years ago, some faced up to 70% rent increases and even losing their apartments. On July 8, 2011, Public Counsel and residents filed an agreement that protects more than 250 families for 20 years.

"Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or just arrived here, today families have a chance to build a new life," said Ms. Moore.

“The potential loss of an already extremely limited supply of affordable housing for low-income families on the Westside of Los Angeles threatened not only the residents of the 246 units comprising the Holiday Venice development, but also the rich racial, ethnic and socio-economic diversity that has characterized the Venice community for over a century,” said Alfred M. Clark, a partner at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP who worked on the case pro bono. “The agreement preserves the long-term affordability of Holiday Venice, and the long-term diversity of the Venice community.”

"Public Counsel's Community Development Project is a critical asset to the community,"
said Steve Clare, Executive Director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing and a party in the lawsuit. "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."

Click here to read a press release about this agreement.

Click here to read about this breakthrough agreement in the Daily Journal