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Western Center on Law and Poverty

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Crime & Law, Homeless & Housing, Housing Support, Legal Services

Mission: Western Center fights for justice and system-wide change to secure housing, healthcare and a strong safety net for low-income Californians.

Results: Select 2013 Accomplishments Health AB 361 (Mitchell) directs the state to create a Health Home program for Medi-Cal beneficiaries who have chronic health conditions and frequently use emergency rooms who are also homeless. ABX1 1 (John A. PĂ©rez/Pan)/ SBX1 1 (Hernandez/Steinberg) expand Medi-Cal coverage to "childless adults" pursuant to the Affordable Care Act and grant both expansion adults and existing Medi-Cal populations full-scope Medi-Cal benefits, including additional mental health and substance abuse benefits. The bills expand Medi-Cal to former foster youth up to the age of 26. Recent legal immigrant will continue to be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal or Exchange coverage with premiums, cost sharing and a benefits wrap paid for by Medi-Cal. The bills also simplify the eligibility rules including adopting the new ACA income standards, eliminating the assets test for most people on Medi-Cal, and streamlining the redetermination process. Housing AB 325 (Alejo) corrects a flawed court ruling that shortened the time to challenge the adequacy of a local general plan housing from 5 years to 90 days from the date of adoption. AB 1229 (Atkins)over-turns a recent court decision that invalidated the application of these ordinances to rental housing. The bill is co-sponsored with CRLA Foundation. Vetoed: Message Here. SB 510 (Jackson) clarifies that a local government, when considering an application to convert a mobilehome park to condominiums, must consider the results of a resident survey in making the decision. SB 612 (Leno)Current law allows survivors of domestic violence to terminate a lease by providing documentation of abuse in the form of a police report or a court-issued protective order. SB 612 expands the accepted options for documentation of abuse and extend the law's provisions to survivors of human trafficking. Human Services SB 134 (Hueso) prevents unemployed military veterans from being sanctioned from their benefit if they do not participate in mandatory work programs. SB 252(Liu) improves outcomes for low-income working parents and pregnant women by strengthening protections for pregnant women mandated to work as a condition of eligibility for CalWORKs basic needs assistance and allows them to count early home visiting programs to count towards their work participation requirement. SB 672 (Leno) helps prevent hunger among low-income working Californians seeking assistance through CalFresh by encouraging the state to adopt federal options maximizing eligibility for the working poor, simplify the verification of the childcare deduction. AB 309(Mitchell) requires county human services agencies to include information about CalFresh eligibility for homeless youth in their outreach to homeless shelters and clarify the responsibility of county agencies to serve unaccompanied youth through the CalFresh when they otherwise eligible.

Target demographics: 8.3 Million Low-Income Californians

Direct beneficiaries per year: 8.Million Low- Income Californians

Geographic areas served: California, All 58 Counties

Programs: With a focus on expanding the availability of quality healthcare, affordable housing, needed public benefits and access to justice for our clients, Western Center, along with our legal service and community partners, attain real-world, system-wide solutions for hundreds of thousands of people each year

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

If you could advise me... a Christian minister and church volunteers put on a weekly dinner for the homeless near the encampment area my son is living in. There is a stone picnic table and many flat concrete slabs to sit on for that meal.

The Riverside, California police harass the minister, trying to stop him from donating the weekly meals. Is there something that can be done to advise the police to let the minister alone? Do you know of any US groups who are working to ameliorate the misery of the homeless? Perhaps prioritizing availability of drinking water?

Thank you!

Dan C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Western Center combines fierce advocacy with on-the-ground help for advocates. their leadership has continually been a driving force in CA to change the paradigm on health and human services - to see them as an investment in our shared future.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They succeed at finding the lost and tired, taking them by the hand and leading them to a better place. They give a voice to the poor, and help the down trodden stand with pride and push their way beyond the barriers of poverty.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Western Center is a unique organization. It's mission is to secure housing, health care, and a strong safety net for low-income Californians. It attacks this mission through a unique three pronged approach - legisltive advocacy, regulatory advocacy and impact litigation. This approach ensures maximum benefit for the efforts expended. The people who work for Western Center are dedicated and effective and many have been there for years. I have been proud to donate my time to Western Center.



Rating: 5

Western Center is an extroardinary organization. It is unique in the state, in that its advocates are among California's most knowledgeable and experienced in the areas of health, housing and welfare, its successful policy advocacy and litigation victories benefit thousands of poor people at a time, and it serves as general counsel to dozens of California's direct services Legal Aid attorneys. As WCLP's former Executive Director, I can personally vouch for both the quality of the staff, the commitment and dedication of the Board of Directors, and the integrity with which the organization is run. Having been off the staff for almost 7 years now, I remain involved as a volunteer because I can think of no prganization more deserving of my time, energy and financial support.