From The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA):
The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) has opened a new legal clinic in Venice for the homeless, and individuals who live in their vehicles, in response to stricter municipal laws and parking restrictions in the community. The walk-in clinic will be held every other Wednesday from 7-9:00 p.m. at the Venice Community Housing Corporation at 720 Rose Avenue in Venice.
Legal aid and volunteer attorneys will provide information, legal counseling and other assistance as appropriate to homeless people who have been arrested or cited for violating Los Angeles City parking restrictions or other municipal laws that make it a crime to live in a vehicle on any public street or public parking lot in the City of Los Angeles or under control of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors; outlaw sleeping, sitting or lying on any street, sidewalk or public way; make it unlawful to be in any public park from 10:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.; and prohibit people from being on Venice beach between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
“Taken together, these laws effectively outlaw homeless people from living within the city limits,” said Susan Millmann, an attorney with LAFLA, who is helping to organize the clinic. “We intend to work with private attorneys and the Public Defender’s Office to ensure that every person cited or arrested understands his or her legal rights and has the opportunity to have a fair hearing if the claims are disputed.”
“The answer to homelessness is housing not law enforcement that drives the homeless from one neighborhood to another,” said Steve Clare, executive director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation. “For those with mental illness, including drug and alcohol addictions and other medical problems, housing must come with supportive services to help residents stabilize in their new environment, maintain sobriety and move toward self sufficiency.”
The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is the largest frontline law firm for poor and low-income families in California. For more information, visit www.lafla.org.
The Venice Community Housing Corporation is a community-based, nonprofit housing and community development corporation dedicated to the creation and preservation of housing affordable to low income people in Venice and surrounding neighborhoods. For more information, visit vchcorp.org.