“This approach contributes to the problem rather than solving it,” said Osha Neumann, a civil rights lawyer who has long advocated for the homeless in northern California. “The idea that we can criminalize our way out of a crisis that is the result of the failure of the system to provide basic human needs for a large percent of our population is ridiculous.”
“They want housing, but there is just no housing. Some of them have been Berkeley residents for 30 years. You’re telling them they can’t be anywhere,” said Andrea Henson, a homelessness advocate who also works as an intern at the East Bay Community Law Center.
“They’ve lived all their lives in that house on that street and it’s traumatic and utterly disorienting for them to be evicted from the house,” said Osha Neumann, supervising attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, who is a well-known homeless advocate, and one of those assisting the brothers.
Three years ago, during Brandon Greene’s first week working as a lawyer in a new clinic affiliated with the East Bay Community Law Center, he was handed a stack of cases to review. Each involved a client who was struggling to pay down the fines and fees that easily accumulate in California’s criminal justice system. It was his job to help. A handful of the cases were so old that he couldn’t find current contact information for the clients. He quickly realized that “some of those folks,” even if he did reach them, “could not get back on their feet at all” because of their debt. “The folks who were being affected were mostly indigent,” he said. “Everything costs money. Every program costs money. And a lot of folks can’t afford to pay these things.”
Theresa Zhen, a staff attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley, who is helping coordinate the advocacy effort for SB144, is already declaring victory. “The fact that even the opposition to the bill admits that it’s philosophically right is huge,” she said. “We’re finally having the real conversation: that courts have been built on the backs of the poor.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Today, Senate Bill 144, introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell, was amended with text that will end the assessment and collection of administrative fees imposed against people in the criminal justice system
By doing so, it would dramatically reduce the economic hardships caused by court-ordered debt and enhance the economic security of system-involved populations, their families and their communities. SB 144 will usher in an era of criminal justice policy that does not rely on stripping wealth from communities of color and low-income communities.
The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) seeks an Immigration Staff Attorney/Clinical Supervisor who represents immigrants with a wide variety of immigration matters and trains and supervises law student interns.
The position requires an excellent advocate with strong writing, interpersonal, and organizational skills who works well in a fast-paced collaborative environment, has experience providing immigration services to low-income people, and is committed to training and mentoring the next generation of legal advocates and furthering the mission for social justice.
EBCLC is a non-profit legal services organization and the community-based clinical program for Berkeley Law School. We are committed to increasing justice through education and advocacy, as well as building a culturally diverse workplace centered on equity.
With over 70 staff, 150 law students, and an $8 Million annual budget, EBCLC is the largest provider of free legal advocacy in Alameda County, providing multi-modal, collaborative, and holistic legal services to over 5,000 clients yearly. EBCLC supports is ground-level legal advocacy through legislative and policy advocacy at the local and state level.
The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is seeking a motivated and detail-oriented Development Assistant to join its Development Team. The ideal candidate is a positive and extremely organized individual with strong communication skills, a flexible and proactive attitude, excellent judgment, strong software and social media skills, and a commitment to EBCLC’s social justice mission. If you are excited about playing a critical support role fundraising for the largest provider of free legal advocacy for low-income people in the East Bay, we encourage you to apply!
EBCLC is a non-profit legal services organization and the community-based clinical program for Berkeley Law School. We are committed to increasing justice through education and advocacy, as well as building a culturally diverse workplace centered on equity. With over 70 staff, 150 law students, and an $8 million annual budget, EBCLC is the largest provider of free legal advocacy in Alameda County, providing multi modal, collaborative, and holistic legal services to over 5,000 clients yearly. EBCLC supports its ground-level legal advocacy through legislative and policy advocacy at the local and state level.
The Development Assistant will participate in EBCLC’s fundraising efforts through donor cultivation support, including gift tracking and acknowledgement, supporting the creation of donor communication materials, prospect research, maintenance of the development database and other record-keeping systems, and directly supporting the planning and implementation of organizational events.
The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) seeks a Social Worker to work alongside EBCLC attorneys and other staff providing holistic representation to individuals experiencing a broad range of housing-related legal problems. The position requires a strong advocate with excellent case management and organizational skills, a willingness to work collaboratively across legal and social work disciplines, an interest in teaching and mentoring the next generation of social workers, and a desire to help grow an exciting and challenging new endeavor of integrating social workers into a legal organization.