Inner City Law Center housing and legal assistance programs.

Inner City Law Center is a Los Angeles based non-profit firm that assists with housing and tenant issues. The organization offers many of its own services for low income families and also works closely with social service agencies and charities. Together they may offer free legal aid, emergency rental assistance, transitional housing, and other support. Both residents that are homeless as well as families facing eviction can get help from ICLC.

The fact is that access to free or affordable legal services for very low income and homeless families is very important to solve the region's housing crisis. This is because legal aid is often essential for removing barriers to obtaining or retaining permanent housing, opening doors to employment, preventing evictions, and receiving needed government benefits. Not only that, but nationwide data show the likelihood of success with claims for public aid, including VA healthcare and other benefits, increases when a client is represented by an attorney. So a number of resources and support systems are available to the low income in the area.

Veterans that are homeless in the region may qualify for services. The primary resource is known as the Homeless Veterans Project. The agency will support and represent military members, veterans and their families with a number of housing and disability needs.

Those with conditions including Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Trauma are just some examples of who may qualify. Assistance is for veterans in Los Angeles County so that they can obtain and maintain housing, access health care and obtain other assistance. Attorneys and staff from Inner City Law Center are ensuring veterans receive the government benefits they need and have earned with their service.

If applicable, ICLC helps veterans obtain the disability compensation that they have earned and deserve as well. For veteran clients, staff with partners in Los Angeles such as mental health providers and case managers to ensure that struggling clients receive the services that they need. Legal assistance may be offered for navigating complex benefits systems, upgrading discharge status, expunging minor criminal records, and dealing with housing issues. This will be help for avoiding eviction, gaining employment, and access transitional or low income permanent housing.




Eviction and homelessness prevention is a key function. ICLC can offer funds as part of rental assistance or they coordinate free legal aid. They also partner with social workers to keep low-income or unemployed families in their homes. The goal is on preventing further homelessness and help people pay the rent when they are behind. Depending on the partner agency, some clients may be offered a loan for paying their rental expenses or maybe an energy bill if faced with a disconnection.

Without a lawyer to represent your interests, tenants are almost always evicted. Without legal representation, many tenants will be faced with impending homelessness, oftentimes illegally. Too many people are ending up on the streets. Inner City Law Center works to stop this, and their innovative homelessness prevention programs recognize that it is better to stop illegal or unnecessary evictions from occurring, rather than dealing with the financial or human costs of homelessness.

The Los Angeles City Homeless Prevention Project is a program offered in partnership with the city and local non-profits. They all work together to assist families in rental housing who had their salaries cut, have lost their jobs, lost their medical insurance, or face some other form of financial difficulty.

Working with partners as part of this project, staff from ICLC work to prevent homelessness. Clients can access emergency rental assistance, free legal advocacy, zero interest loans and get assistance from social workers. The goal of ICLC and its partners of Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Neighborhood Legal Services is to keep people housed.

Another resource is the Shriver Project. It is a homelessness prevention resource that offers free representation in court for the tenant. Some of the participating law firms and non-profits are Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Legal Services, and general Public Counsel.





Healthy Homes is information and knowledge for tenants. The objective is to empower them to force landlords or apartment managers to repair buildings and improve unhealthy conditions. If and when needed, Inner City Law Center (ICLC) even sues landlords based in Los Angeles who fail to comply with the legal requirements of decent and safe housing.

Get advice and help in applying for Public Benefits or government aid. The team of public benefits specialists will advocate on behalf of low-income individuals and families. There is also assistance for households with a disabled member. Get help in applying for federal government or state of California programs such as general relief, social security disability benefits (SSDI), food stamps, and other benefits or government grants. Many are also offered for preventing homelessness.

Inner City Law Center will assists low-income residents as well as the homeless with applying for state of California and federal public benefits programs, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), CalWORKS, California State Disability (SDI), Medi-Cal, In Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), GAIN, CalFresh/SNAP (food stamps) and even grants from General Relief.

As many know, these public and government assistance programs have complex eligibility rules. ICLC's team of attorneys and paralegals can provide free services and advice to help people navigate these complexities.

Los Angeles households with a member with HIV/AIDS can also get help from Inner City Law Center. The firm will help them maintain safe and affordable housing, fight discriminatory practices and gain access to vital health care and other public benefits. They work with agencies such as the LA Housing and Community Investment Department on this activity.




There is a lack of affordable and quality legal resources for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with HIV or AIDS. They need support to help eliminate barriers to income and stability to get them or keep them off the streets and get the medical care they need. Unhealthy and/or unstable living conditions in an apartment can also contribute to a weakened immune system. This may then lead to issues with prescription drug resistance, morbidity, and even death. So stable housing is critical, and they help with this need.

Services, including emergency rent help, is offered in partnership with Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department's Housing Opportunity for Persons Living with HIV or AIDS program (HOPWA). There is also free legal representation offered to these clients and their families.

For more information on the Inner City Law Center programs, or to donate or volunteer, the firm is located at 1309 East Seventh Street, Los Angeles, California 90021. Call (213) 891-2880.


By Jon McNamara

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