Since starting my internship at the Los Angeles Center for Community Law and Action, I’ve come to learn a significant amount about housing issues in LA, from rent control to eviction lawsuits to habitability problems. LACCLA is a community-based organization stationed in Boyle Heights (a neighborhood east of Downtown), which organizes buildings and neighborhoods throughout LA County to push back against displacement of low-income residents from their communities as well as provide free legal services where necessary.
Before my internship, I had known that there was a housing crisis in LA (and pretty much every other metropolitan area), but I had no idea about the systemic and deep-rooted issues that tenants in LA face. Through attending housing department hearings, weekly community meetings, and listening to the personal stories of clients, I have come to gain a better understanding of what it really means to be a tenant in LA. It is difficult enough to find a place to live; on top of this, tenants are often faced with extreme rent increases (upwards of 40%, which amounts to hundreds), uninhabitable environments, and unjust eviction lawsuits. In addition, the law is often favorable towards the landlord, so it is an uphill battle for tenants in the court system.
But even when faced with countless obstacles, the two lawyers that make up LACCLA (also my supervisors) have managed to win many cases for their clients, often low-income minorities. Not only has it been an inspiring and eye-opening experience to intern with LACCLA, but the types of projects that I work on are substantial and interesting, from in-depth research of rent control, to investigating the properties of a commercial developer. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience thus far and look forward to what the rest of this internship has in store.