Housing Law Program secures over $100,000 in settlements during the first quarter of the year!

Since December 2014 La Raza Centro Legal’s new Housing Law Program led by attorney Judith Gallardo has assisted dozens of San Francisco residents in need of legal advice regarding their housing rights. Gentrification, the influx of high-income dwellers into low-income neighborhoods, has become a serious cause of concern in San Francisco. Through legal representation, the Housing Law Program prevents low income tenants from becoming homeless. Since December, the Housing Law Program has ensured that numerous families stay in their home. In addition, the program has assisted numerous families settle a reasonable move out date and moving expenses. During the first quarter of the year, the total combined settlement amount for those families is more than $100,000.00. Further, the Housing Law Program has also assisted clients that choose to participate in Buy Out Agreements.  One of our clients is to receive $15,000.00 for his voluntary termination of a rent controlled tenancy. The Housing Law Program will continue to assist and represents low income tenants against eviction, thereby, preventing homelessness. La Raza Centro Legal’s Housing Law Program prides itself in working powerfully with clients to resolve tenant landlord disputes in the most professional and peaceful manner possible to ensure the most effective legal representation...

The Workers’ Rights Program protects workers from inhumane treatment and vigorously enforces laws to protect their rights!

During the first quarter of the year, La Raza Centro Legal’s Workers’ Rights Program has  assisted hundreds of low-wage, immigrant workers in obtaining recoveries of unlawfully unpaid wages totaling approximately $500,000! Recently, the program vigorously enforced laws to protect the rights of two workers. Laborers of a local moving company were not provided meal or rest periods and did not receive overtime pay for their twelve hour work days.  The workers also tolerated harassment and abuse.  Although they worked well, they were yelled at and humiliated. The final mistreatment was the unfair termination of employment after several years of tireless work benefiting the success of the company. Throughout the employment, one of the workers had to pawn all of his most important jewelry because the company was not paying all wages due. This meant he lost his wedding ring, gifts from his family and anything of value he had so that he could pay rent and eat.  After he lost his job, he had lost all hope of ever getting back is valuables. La Raza Centro Legal’s Workers’ Rights Program filed claims on their behalf of the workers for thousands of overtime hours as well as meal and rest break compensation. At first, the employer barely acknowledged that he had employed the workers even though they had been loyal employees for several years. Once the process began, employer understood that no one was backing down and slowly moved towards a resolution. The workers were finally compensated for their dedication and hard work and one of the workers was able to reclaim his beloved articles. *Client names have not been released...

Unaccompanied Minors: A Grim Reality

Unaccompanied Minors– A Grim Reality  By La Raza Centro Legal’s Immigration Law Attorney, Amanda Alvarado-Ford. Imagine you are the parent of three teenagers under the age of 18. You live in an urban city in a Central American country, in a neighborhood notorious for illegal gang activity.  Residents and business owners are routinely extorted by young male gang members for weekly payments of “rent” – the nonpayment of which will result in threats of immediate bodily harm to your loved ones. You do not doubt that these threats will come to fruition. As a small business owner, you make your installments regularly.  After two years of payments to the organization, one of your teenage boys is on his way home and gets robbed at knife-point, his identity documents and cash taken and never recovered. Shortly thereafter, you receive a call from a gang member. You are instructed to go with the gang member who is en route to your house, to accompany him to the police station to act as the “mother” of the gangster who stole your son’s identity. That juvenile is being prosecuted for a violent crime he, not your actual son, committed. Under local law, a youth accused of such a crime may only be released on bail into the custody of a parent. Two gang members show up on your porch, one that stays there with a concealed weapon, and another who holds your three teenagers hostage in your own living room as you are taken to a taxi.  From there, a third gang member takes you at gunpoint to the police station, and instructs...

Displaced Tenants Learn About Their Right to Return

Our Housing Law Program Attorney, Judith Gallardo and Tenants’ Rights Activists inform Displaced Fire Victim Tenants about their “Right to Return” Victims of the fires in both the Mission and the Tenderloin gathered in a conference room at City College’s Mission campus last night and were told that tenants displaced by a fire have the “right to return,” meaning that once the damaged units are repaired, the tenants must be notified within 30 days and must be offered the opportunity to move back in to their units at their former rent. After notice is given, tenants have 45 days to accept or decline the offer to return. Read...

Warm Greetings From La Raza Centro Legal

A message from our Executive Director, Genevie Gallegos.  Extraordinary issues including, unaccompanied children fleeing the terrors of their countries, the recent Executive Action benefiting many, San Francisco gentrification and Ellis Act evictions, have caused a great increase in the number of families and individuals seeking our support.  It is only because of truly phenomenal funder partnerships unique to the San Francisco Bay Area that we are able to increase our capacity to provide additional legal services to the most vulnerable who would not otherwise have access to legal representation.  We will soon increase our capacity by 20% . Recently, Mayor Edwin Lee committed City support to ensure resources to those who will receive legal status under the President Obama’s recent Executive Action. In October 2014 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the incredible resolution, introduced by Supervisor David Campos, providing for legal representation to the thousands of children and those with their family fleeing violence and poverty from their countries. In September 2014, the City of San Francisco ensured legal representation funding to the many being displaced by evictions, including those under the Ellis Act. The City of San Francisco’s extraordinary support will soon allow us to increase our staffing by 22%.  Further, our programs and infrastructure continue to strengthen thanks to our partnerships with the San Francisco Foundation, van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation, Atkinson Foundation, California Bar Foundation,Morrison & Foerster Foundation, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation,CRISP Collaborative (Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Grove Foundation), State Bar of California (IOLTA and EAF funding), Mission Promise Neighborhood partnership (U.S. Department of  Education funding to ensure family stability) and our...

Holiday Greetings from The Board of Directors of La Raza Centro Legal

We’re thrilled to share with you some of our accomplishments this year! We are pleased to report that LRCL is on much more stable footing financially, and our hardworking staff will be getting raises for the first time in many years.  In addition, our organization has grown with the addition of our new Housing Law Program which provides much-needed legal assistance to those facing eviction in San Francisco. The entire board has made financial commitments to the organization, which helps the staff to better plan what we need to raise each year.  This year a special push at our gala generated income that we hope to use to further grow our staff next year. We spent the year doing a strategic plan which is going to guide our work for the next several years, and it is focused on how we can serve more of the clients that come through our doors each year, and the steps we need to take to be able to do that, including continuing to grow our legal staff.  We are eager to spend next year working with staff implementing the plan. We have a beautiful new website, and continue to work to increase LRCL’s social media presence. Finally, the board has continued to grow and we are proud of the strong board committees we have, and the support they provide to LRCL in finance, fundraising, strategic planning and more areas to come soon. Thank you for your support to La Raza Centro Legal this year.  Please know how much the board appreciates your stalwart support. Sincerely, Errol Dauis, Board President Shanthi Gonzales, Board Vice...