SANTA MONICA-On Thursday, April 8, the City of Santa Monica announced that the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office launched its pilot Right to Counsel Project, an initiative to provide legal assistance for tenants facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program is available to Santa Monica tenants whose household income is at or below 80% of the Los Angeles County’s Area Medium Income and facing eviction attempts by their landlord. The program is accessible at www.stayhousedla.org.
The launch includes a contract with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), a non-profit law firm for low-income residents, to provide eviction defense services in which attorneys will represent tenants in court.
”The City’s Right to Counsel program will help level the playing field for Santa Monica tenants facing evictions in proceedings where their landlords are represented by experienced attorneys,” said George Cardona, Interim City Attorney. “We look forward to collaborating with LAFLA and Stay Housed L.A. County on this pilot project, which is particularly important due to the pandemic’s impacts.”
“LAFLA and all our partners in Stay Housed L.A. County are thrilled to work with the Santa Monica City’s Attorney’s Office on this exciting new project, and hope that this is the first step towards a full Renter’s Right to Counsel in Santa Monica and other Los Angeles jurisdictions,” Barbara J. Schultz, Director of Housing Justice with LAFLA stated.