2022 Grants Challenge

Secure and Stable Housing For All Angelenos

Our goal is for ALL Angelenos to have access to healthy, sustainable, and affordable housing in neighborhoods of their choosing. We advocate for strong, clear, and enforceable anti-displacement protections, work to protect tenants from eviction and landlord abuse, and ensure access to housing by advocating to preserve the existing housing stock and by promoting equitable planning and development.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Housing and Homelessness

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Efforts to provide housing for Angelenos experiencing homelessness continue to be undermined by the fact that many renters living on the edge are falling into homelessness due to the affordable housing crisis. Achieving housing for all in Los Angeles will require bold and transformative approaches beyond simply ramping up existing production models, including building social housing at scale; taking existing housing off the private speculative market and converting it to permanent affordability; expanding community land trusts and other forms of community-based housing ownership; and fully protecting all renters from untenable rent increases, unjust evictions, unsafe living conditions, and harassment. Western Center tackles the long-term underpinnings of the housing crisis and the system-wide changes needed to address it through our successful model, which leverages policy and administrative advocacy, legal education and technical assistance, and impact litigation.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATIVE ADVOCACY In collaboration with our community partners, Western Center will monitor, advocate, and negotiate with state and local agencies to protect and expand the housing rights of Angelenos experiencing poverty and help monitor the implementation of legislation so that these rights become a reality. EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE Western Center will empower front-line legal aid organizations and community groups with the skills and technical training they need to build institutional capacity and increase effectiveness. We will provide a variety of on-going housing and community-development-related convenings with topics including protecting tenants' rights, housing law overview, issue-spotting, eviction defense, relocation rights, mobile home tenancy and park closure rights, anti-displacement, redevelopment, housing element, community development planning, fair housing and disaster preparedness. IMPACT LITIGATION Western Center will partner with local legal services programs and pro bono co-counsel to file class action and other impact litigation cases to advocate for housing justice. Our current litigation docket of housing cases concerns defending laws that promote equitable development of affordable housing; protecting individuals experiencing homelessness from removal from their communities of choice; and protecting extremely low-, very low-, and low-income tenants from displacement due to rent-gouging and other unlawful practices.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

In the coming year, we will advocate for the inclusion of equity principles in all housing policies to protect low-income families and communities vulnerable to displacement, centering the voices of those who have been historically disenfranchised in this area of policy. If successful, we envision a LA2050 where all of our neighbors have access to healthy, sustainable, and affordable housing in neighborhoods of their choosing, with strong, clear, and enforceable anti-displacement and anti-discrimination protections. The housing emergency in Southern California, and its disproportionate effects on the most vulnerable Angelenos, comes to an end. Housing development is focused on those most in need. Policies create value for landowners or developers to recapture a significant portion of that value in the form of affordable homes for lower-income people. Land use planning, siting, and investment decisions advance public health, housing, and environmental justice.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We successfully fight for broad legal victories that impact the nearly two million Los Angeles residents living in poverty. We measure our success by tracking the following outcomes: # of impact cases we win and how many individuals may benefit, # of anti-poverty legislation we lead in enacting and how many individuals may benefit # of legal aid attorneys whose legal knowledge and skills are increased through our technical assistance and training program For example, in 2021, we were part of two successful negotiations to extend statewide protections to prevent evictions for hundreds of thousands low income families unable to pay rent due to the pandemic. Our eviction protection work included federal, state, and local advocacy to create and improve the state’s rental assistance program, update court processes, protect renters from negative debt and credit impacts, and secure an unprecedented commitment from the state to cover 100% of rent and utility debt.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,780,000

Indirect Impact: NaN