Preventing Displacement–One Family at a Time
Housing prices throughout the Bay Area are skyrocketing, including in the communities where CLC practices. CLC students and attorneys work hard with other local activists and lawyers to preserve and protect the housing of the low-income people of the Peninsula who are being priced out of the area. One of CLC’s key roles is providing full-service representation to individual tenants and families who are facing eviction. East Palo Alto is the only city in San Mateo County with a rent stabilization and good cause eviction ordinance, which provides some defenses and protections for tenants in addition to those found in state law. Students also represent tenants in affirmative proceedings before the local Rent Board, seeking to enforce their rights to lawfully regulated rents and to safe housing conditions.
These cases give CLC students a rapid and deep dive into all aspects of civil litigation, from drafting pleadings to taking and defending depositions to negotiating with opposing counsel. The eviction cases are handled in Superior Court, where students appear at settlement conferences, motion hearings, and at ex parte and trial calendars.
Clinic students also provide legal, policy, and technical advice to local activists working to preserve affordable housing in East Palo Alto and throughout Silicon Valley. In this way, CLC acknowledges that the acute legal needs of its individual clients represent part of larger systemic problems of rising rents and ever-expanding income inequality. CLC’s diverse housing practice exposes students to the challenging questions about the lawyer’s role in addressing the issue at both the individual and policy levels.
The Context: Housing Issues in the Bay Area
The Urban Displacement Study is a multi-university and community research initiative studying gentrification and displacement in the Bay Area. Click above for maps, data, events, and more to put CLC's housing work into a regional and policy context.
The City of East Palo Alto renewed its commitment to affordable housing when it updated its Rent Stabilization and Eviction Control ordinance in 2010. This link takes you to the law and its history.
NLIHC is a national organization dedicated to preserving the rights of low-income people to safe and affordable housing. Click on the link above to surf its research, publication and tools, including the Out of Reach data, which show the "housing wage" for every city and county in the nation.