Community Partners Ramp Up The Fight for Housing Justice
One of the core aspects of our Agenda for a Just Future is our commitment to fighting for a roof over every head. As part of that housing justice work, we have also supported organizations working to ensure fair treatment of tenants who face the risk of eviction during these uncertain times.
LA Community Action Network (LA CAN) and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) are two long time Liberty Hill partners who have been leaders in the fight to ensure tenants facing eviction have access to the same legal services as landlords.
They have been leading the Right to Counsel–LA (RTC-LA) coalition since its formation in 2018. RTC-LA advocates for a codified right to counsel across all of L.A. County, meaning that every tenant who faces eviction would receive free legal defense.
“We know that 90% of landlords have representation in eviction proceedings, compared to just 12% of tenants,” said Cata Romo, Community Organizer with SAJE. “Right to Counsel seeks to balance that. A true Right to Counsel means everyone facing an eviction has legal representation. When tenants have legal representation, they are 70% more likely to stay in their home. San Francisco and New York City already have Right to Counsel, but what makes our proposal unique is the significant outreach and education done by trusted community organizations.”
Now more than 18 organizations in the Right to Counsel Coalition are also participating in Stay Housed L.A. County, an initiative coalition members advocated for and secured thanks to support from L.A. County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas. Stay Housed will provide a modified version of Right to Counsel called eviction prevention and defense.
“Stay Housed L.A. County is the first step towards a true Right to Counsel. We’re connecting tenants in the neighborhoods most at-risk of eviction and displacement with tenant organizers who can provide information on renter’s rights or refer them to the right legal services,” said Steve Diaz, Deputy Director of Organizing at LA CAN. “We’re building a community of empowered tenants who know their rights and have the ability to exercise them.”
Stay Housed L.A. County is a collaboration between community organizations and legal service providers across the county, along with the L.A. County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and Liberty Hill Foundation, to educate tenants on their rights and connect them to the right legal service provider.