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Mission & History

Fighting to End Poverty in California

For over five decades, the Western Center on Law & Poverty has advocated on behalf of individuals with low incomes in every branch of California government—from the courts to the Legislature.

Many systems keep Californians in poverty – from institutionalized racism to unjust and unequal economic structures. We address those factors in every aspect of our work, and call out the ways that they oppress Californians living in poverty.

Through the lens of economic and racial justice, we litigate, educate and advocate around health care, housing, and public benefits policies and administration.



Western Center was formed in 1967 by a passionate group of attorneys and legal scholars from USC, UCLA and Loyola law schools who sought to create a unique organization, driven by the belief that low-income Californians deserve the finest possible legal representation before every institution that shapes their lives.  In 1972, we opened our Sacramento office, establishing the first capital legislative office in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to the interests of the poor.