Furthermore, collection agencies are not bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers from various forms of threat and harassment, because court debts are considered “involuntary.” As a result of this loophole, said Miguel Soto, an attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, “We’ve had clients tell us that the [debt collector] they’re dealing with is threatening them with violence, imprisonment, or, in some occasions, deportation.”
In the News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making fine reduction more accessible to low-income residents.
Monday, June 25, 2018: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making the Court’s fine reduction program more accessible to low-income residents.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and representing tenants in Berkeley. It’s amazing the number of people who have had to move away,” said Laura Lane, who was director of the housing practice at the East Bay Community Law Center for 20 years.
Eviction Protections Could Be Extended to Thousands More Oakland Homes Through Proposed Ballot Measure
Shallyn Wells, an attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, shared the story of her client, Samantha Lao, at today’s committee hearing. Lao lives in the upper unit of a duplex. Her downstairs neighbor left after a new owner purchased the building and evicted them. The new owner now claims to be living in the bottom unit, but Wells claims that this isn’t true, and that instead the landlord is simply using the exemption to get rid of Lao and increase the rent.
Benjamin Blake, chief clinical strategy officer for BACS, said the organization has many people who are “rental ready” in Oakland, but there aren’t apartments available. East Bay Community Law Center supervising attorney Osha Neumann agreed that the limiting factor is a lack of affordable subsidized housing in Berkeley and Oakland.
It’s always them. We debate them, we invoke them in our polemics, we sympathize with them, we scorn them, we lump them into a generic mass, we fantasize about them, we are alternatively charitable and punitive, but they are always the other. What we don’t do is listen to them.
“Berkeley has one of the most progressive school discipline policies I’ve ever seen. They’re really trying,” said Bay, who represents families from Oakland and Hayward too. But she said there’s still work to be done, and black students are vulnerable to “the biases we carry.” The students she’s seen in special day classes are subject to “hyper-surveillance” in her view, where their every move is written down and their behavior “pathologized.”
An Open Letter to the Mayor and City Council Regarding the Raids on Homeless Encampments in Berkeley
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL June 3, 2018 Dear Mayor Arreguin and City Council Members Another unnecessary disaster is in the making. This is becoming exhausting. And sad. We get turned into broken records. We don’t even want to hear ourselves repeating the tired phrases. But we have no choice. On […]
“Does the City have any idea who’s living on Second Street?” Neumann wrote. “It’s mostly people who have been homeless for many many years for reasons too numerous to mention, but which include the fact that they have significant mental and physical disabilities. They are people with difficult lives who do not deserve to have their lives made more difficult by us. If we can’t help, at least let us do no harm.”
The clinic is run by the Center’s Clean Slate Practice, which focuses on “the decriminalization of poverty,” according to Brandon Greene, one of its lead attorneys. Some of Greene’s colleagues do post-conviction work, helping to seal arrest records, reduce probation, and help people who’ve been denied employment because of criminal backgrounds. But Greene’s clients are facing a particular set of issues: court-ordered debt related to things like traffic violations and parking tickets.