LEGAL AID FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST COUNTY OF ORANGE ON BEHALF OF HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES LIVING AT THE SANTA ANA RIVERBED
On February 7, 2018, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County filed a lawsuit against the County of Orange for discriminatory actions taken against homeless individuals with disabilities who currently reside at the Santa Ana Riverbed. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of People’s Homeless Task Force, a homeless advocacy association, and seven homeless individuals who live at the Riverbed.
On January 22, 2018, the County began the process of evicting hundreds of people living at the Riverbed, the majority of whom experience mental or physical disabilities, or both. Although the County had previously committed to relocating every willing homeless person on the Riverbed to appropriate housing and services before requiring them to leave, the County buckled under mounting political pressure and began sweeping the Riverbed even though hundreds of people had not yet accessed the County’s services. The lawsuit alleges that the County’s program and its sudden eviction of Riverbed residents before the program was completed are discriminatory because its actions deny individuals living on the Riverbed access to the benefits of the County’s services by reason of their disabilities.
“My team and I were retained by desperate homeless residents living in substandard conditions with hopes of accessing the services and housing options promised by the County so that they could successfully exit the Riverbed encampments. Despite weeks of working with the County to seek reasonable solutions for our clients, it was clear that County services are so inadequate that they would only cause further harm to individuals with disabilities,” said Lili Graham, Director of Litigation at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. “The County has identified the complex needs of the homeless in obtaining significant funds from the state and federal governments, yet much of that money has gone unspent. The County must take a hard look at the implementation of its program and work with knowledgeable professionals to create viable long-term solutions for chronically homeless individuals. A mass eviction of the County’s most vulnerable residents is not a solution.”
The lawsuit alleges that Orange County has nearly $700 million in unspent funds available to end homelessness, including $146 million for housing vouchers, $8 million for affordable housing, $67.5 million for mental health treatment and residential care, and nearly $227 million in CalWORKS funding. However, the County’s continued lack of willingness to implement long-term solutions to end homelessness has left these vast funding reserves largely untapped.
Plaintiffs are represented by Lili Graham, Sarah J. Gregory, and Michelle Kim Kotval, attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Orange County.
Editorial contact: Lili Graham | 714.571.5282 | email@example.com
About Legal Aid Society of Orange County
The Legal Aid Society of Orange County is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free legal aid services to our community’s most vulnerable populations: veterans, the homeless, families, and low-income individuals. For over 58 years, LASOC has spread its services— advocacy, legal counseling, community education, and legal representation—throughout Orange County and southeast Los Angeles to bring equal access to justice for all.
We are looking for volunteers who are interested in placement with LASOC’s Compton/Norwalk Office as well as corresponding Courthouse Self-Help Center and Restraining Order Clinic. Learn about family law, civil matters, restraining orders and unlawful detainers.
This position is perfect for paralegal or law students wanting to network and gain experience in the field.
Benefits of the Position:
Gain experience in the legal field – no prior experience necessary
Join a community of passionate legal professionals
Give back to your community
Great resume builder
English and multilingual help needed, especially Spanish
Bachelor’s degree or paralegal certificate
Certified paralegals, paralegal and law students preferred
Basic knowledge of the legal system
Attention to detail
Empathy for our diverse client community and workforce
What the Family Law Lawyer needs to know about the investments and securities law practice
What issues arise with investment disputes or securities enforcement? How does one identify a client’s risk management error? How does the private lawyer identify relevant issues for private redress? How does counsel seek information and assistance from regulators?
Do your clients own stocks and securities, if so, this is a class you should not miss!
Speaker will be Dennis A. Stubblefield
Attorney in private practice; former Securities Exchange Commissioner Enforcement Attorney; adjunct professor at Western State College of Law: Securities Regulation
introduced by Commissioner Richard G. Vogl (Ret.)
(“Let’s Talk About…” is a series of classes sponsored by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County and led by Commissioner Vogl. This series covers a variety of court issues and is for MCLE credit for lawyers, paralegals, and office staff.)
November 18, 2014
1 hour MCLE
12:15 PM to 1:15 PM
Location: 2101 North Tustin Avenue, Santa Ana
Bring your lunch and questions!
Cost: $25 -or-
Volunteer in LASOC’s Family Law Clinic immediately after the session -or-
Accept a pro bono case with one of LASOC’s clients
When people retire, they naturally assume that life is smooth sailing henceforth. After decades of hard work, they believe that they can enjoy the rest of their days in leisure. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case for many seniors. For many retirees, the reality of retirement means having to live on a fixed income—usually in the form of Social Security retirement benefits. In a world where the cost of living is always on the rise, that income is often insufficient. One car repair or medical bill can mean financial ruin for many seniors. Instead of a worry-free living, retirement may mean many sleepless nights wondering how to pay for basic needs or mounting credit card bills.
Bankruptcy may be an option, but is often not necessary if a senior only receives federal government benefits, and does not own any property of significant value. Federal government benefits typically include Social Security and Veterans’ benefits.
Before a creditor can garnish a person’s income or attach liens on their property, they must first sue the debtor and obtain a judgment against them. Once a creditor obtains that judgment, they can attach any non-exempt property or income from the debtor. Social Security and Veteran’s benefits are generally exempt and cannot be touched by creditors. In 2011, Congress went a step further to protect seniors by establishing rules for the garnishment of accounts containing federal benefit payments that are directly deposited into a financial institution such as banks and credit unions.
Under the federal rules, a bank has the duty to identify such accounts and protect them from levy or garnishment. When served with a garnishment order issued against a debtor, the bank must perform an account review. If the account review shows that a federal agency deposited a benefit payment into the account during the previous two months, then the financial institution must calculate and establish an amount of money in the account to be protected.
California law complements the federal law and goes even farther by declaring that a bank account that receives Social Security benefits by direct deposit is automatically exempt up to $2425 for one designated payee and $3650 where two or more designated payees share an account.
What this basically means is that if a judgment creditor attempts to freeze a bank account containing only federal government benefit such as Social Security benefits or Veteran’s benefits, the bank will not freeze the account and the judgment debtor need not do any further action. The Federal and Californian laws, however, do not apply when the levy is based on a family support order or if the levying entity is the federal government.
If you are an Orange County resident age 60 years or over and have questions about collection issues, you can call the Senior Citizen’s Legal Advocacy Program of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County at (714) 571-5245. There, you can discuss your issues and have them individually evaluated.
With the end of the 2014 school year, Legal Aid Society of Orange County and Community Legal Services of Southeast Los Angeles County has welcomed a new class of summer law student interns. Every summer, LASOC and CLS accept interns from law schools all over Southern California (and sometimes the state and country) to serve our local client community.
This year’s interns hail from Whittier Law School, Western State, UCLA, Pepperdine, Southwestern, USC, Loyola, Chapman, Trinity Law School, UCI and more. They also represent all class levels: 1L, 2L, and 3L. In both Los Angeles and Orange counties, they will serve victims of domestic violence, assist in eviction defense, attend to divorce and child custody cases, and lend services to administrative law cases such as termination or suspension of government benefits and elder law.
We are excited to share that our interns have already begun important work for our low-income families and senior citizens in the area. Our interns will provide their services researching, writing, and (for those who are certified) representing our clients under the supervision of our dedicated staff attorneys. During their internships, these interns will gain invaluable lawyering skills, such as interviewing and identifying fact patterns, all while serving clients who may otherwise not have another chance.