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Public Counsel Client Featured on HBO

HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver recently featured Public Counsel client Adaia Sanchez, a homeowner who was duped into signing up for financing for a solar energy system that ended up increasing her property taxes sixteenfold. The ordeal cost her her retirement and she faced the prospect of losing her house. Ms. Sanchez’s home was a refuge, a place where she raised her two daughters, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, and the thought of losing it was devastating.

Check out the full segment here.

The segment highlights the predatory nature of the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, or PACE, which has been a focus of Public Counsel’s Consumer Rights and Economic Justice project for years. PACE was ostensibly created to help homeowners pay for energy-efficient home improvements, but instead has burdened thousands of low-income homeowners with high-interest loans that they cannot afford. Even more troubling, PACE has disproportionately been peddled to communities of color, and to elderly and non-English speaking homeowners.

Public Counsel’s Consumer Rights and Economic Justice project has been fighting for PACE victims on all fronts, including two class-action lawsuits, individual client services to more than 300 homeowners, and securing pro bono counsel for clients with urgent claims. We have helped over 90 PACE victims this year alone. In addition, our advocacy continues on the local, state, and national level with our community partners and coalitions such as the Clean Energy Justice campaign and the California Low-Income Consumer Coalition.

We all want an opportunity for a slice of the American dream — homeownership that allows our families to thrive, contributes to our neighborhoods and communities, and provides a stable financial resource for our children. However, the PACE program has destroyed many families’ ability to achieve that dream. We’re fighting to keep Californians in their homes and to end this predatory program that has harmed so many in our most vulnerable communities.