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Time Is Running Out To Cash Riverside County Juvenile Fee Settlement Checks

Around 1,200 Riverside County families who paid juvenile detention fees between December 2016 and April 2020 were mailed settlement checks earlier this summer. But around 400 have yet to cash them, and time is running out.

The backstory: California families that had a child in the juvenile system used to be charged a daily fee for every day their child was in juvenile hall. California legislators banned that in 2021. But earlier this year Riverside Superior Court approved a $540,307 settlement for families who paid those fees between 2016 and April 2020. Those checks were mailed in July.

Why it matters: Rebecca Miller, a senior litigator at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said the fees loomed over the families while their child was incarcerated. “This is just such an important opportunity for us to undo some of that financial stress that these fees cause” Miller said.

Why now: Families who think they’re eligible have until Nov. 11 to cash the check. There’s about $150,000 left unclaimed from the settlement. Hong Le, a senior attorney with the National Center for Youth Law says she hopes all community members are able to access the money that’s owed to them. “We’ve already seen the positive impacts these repayments have had on some class members,” Le said. “Everyone who was harmed by these illegal practices deserves this refund and to be able to use this money however they choose.”

How to know if you’re eligible? Head to the settlement site or call Riverside County’s settlement administrator.

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Albertson-Kroger Merger: bad for local community food security/food access, bad for local independent grocers, and bad for worker’s rights.

Albertson-Kroger Merger: bad for local community food security/food access, bad for local independent grocers, and bad for worker’s rights. 

By Abraham Zavala-Rodriguez, Outreach and Advocacy Associate

Business boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were encouraged to stay at home and therefore ate more at home and used more utilities. Food costs increased, demand was high, and people continued to work through these difficult times. Grocery workers, distribution workers, and meat packing workers became sick and died as a result of COVID-19. Profits for these big grocery chains soared at historic rates while deaths increased among frontline workers

When you go to the grocery store, you see shelves and shelves of goods – from canned goods to diapers to fresh fruits and vegetables, to dairy to poultry. What you may not think about as often is the labor and logistics that went into stocking those shelves. 

Truck drivers bring food from across the country from warehouse centers to the store sites. Workers unload the truck and stock the shelves early in the morning and late at night, and others inspect the deliveries to assure the best quality. 

Depending on the grocery chain; you’ll see grocery store workers alongside personal shoppers fulfilling digital orders via an app. The grocery industry is evolving and profiting post-pandemic. Fierce competition is scaling up amongst big corporate grocers. 

In a move that will impact everyone from employees to grocery shoppers, Kroger announced its plans to acquire Albertsons for nearly $25 billion almost a year ago. This move would combine two of the largest grocery chains nationally. The deal creates a grocery chain amassing 5,000 locations across the U.S. Kroger representatives claim that it is the best option in balancing competition against Walmart and other big brands.

However, a study by the Food and Water Watch groups found that between 1993 and 2019 the number of U.S grocers fell by 30%. The U.S Department of Agriculture found that between 2005 to 2015 the market share of local independent grocers dropped in 41% of counties across the U.S. 

Small mom and pop businesses and your local bodegas or mercaditos will continue to get boxed out amidst consolidation of big corporate chains. These closures impact areas typically already experiencing food access issues. The top five grocery chains own half of the entire market, with Walmart dominating a quarter of the overall market share. 

At the beginning of this month, Kroger and Albertsons announced it will sell 400 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers, a move meant to ease the approval process. 66 of these stores are in California. The deal is pending approval by the FTC. Make no mistake, these big grocer cartels control food prices and will hurt local economies no matter how many stores they sell to get federal approval. 

The California Attorney General’s office has expressed serious concerns with the merger. The Attorney General has the power to review and stop mergers that are anti-competitive and will cause serious harm to consumers. 

This ongoing shift of large operators consolidating will allow them to dominate price negotiations with suppliers further impacting small local operators, increasing prices and diminishing access to food. 

This merger also touches on Black and Latinx health and access to medicines. A recent USC study showed that Black and Latinx communities lack access to pharmacies. 2,254 Kroger stores have a pharmacy in store while 1,700 Albertson include a pharmacy onsite. The concern is that the merger will lead to low performing stores with pharmacies closing, widening the pharmacy access gap. Millions would have no place to pick up their medication or would have to go long distances to do so. 

Community advocates and labor groups have spoken out against the Kroger-Albertsons merger, saying the move will hurt everyday people by raising prices and impact the livelihood of grocery workers. Less competition means chains can raise prices and consumers will have few, if any, other options. The same goes for employees, who have less bargaining power and fewer choices if they want to find a different job. 

Alarmingly, the merger will lower wages for 746,000 grocery store workers in over 50 metropolitan areas of the U.S.,” with total annual earnings dropping by $334 million in those locations.This will impact all workers across these major cities, not just those Kroger-Albertson workers. 

“These major corporations are playing monopoly with the livelihoods of our communities because they have only looked at our communities through the lens of dollars and cents and never through the lens of humanity. People who live in these communities that will soon be abandoned with no resources to rely on are tired of the white flight mentality that has continually been perpetuated by CEOs who only came to the neighborhood to take the community’s resources until they are dry,” says Christopher Sanchez, Policy Advocate for Western Center on Law and Poverty.

As the merger remains under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) review, community groups and labor remain vigilant and in opposition to the latest monopolization by large corporations over food price and access. 

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) opposes the merger. According to UFCW, Kroger has not been responsive to calls by the union to be more transparent about the deal. 

Governor Newsom has the chance to stand once again with working people by signing UFCW-sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 725 by Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas and offer grocery workers an important and much needed safety net. This bill would ensure corporations are held accountable to employees who are laid off due to a merger or acquisition by providing workers with one week’s severance pay per year of service. While the field will never be equal, this bill provides workers and their families with important economic safety protections when mergers and corporations devastate local communities and push them deeper into poverty. 

Help urge Governor Newsom to sign this critical bill into law by sending him a quick email

We must stop this merger and all large agribusiness mergers in its tracks. Agribusiness grows and continues to make horizontal and vertical growth in the grocery industry, further cornering the market in the hands of a few. 

We must support stronger enforcement of antitrust measures and uplift leaders that will champion a stand against powerful corporations impacting our food economies.  

We must continue to push state and local governments to champion the rebuilding of local food economies and try different paths. One way is to find alternatives that are controlled by local communities. One example is Mandela Grocery in Oakland, California, a food worker cooperative. Workers share in the profits and decision making. They source fresh products from locally owned Black farms. The local community and workers have a say. 

We must not forget the workers who kept us fed during difficult times, times they were experiencing and enduring too. Hundreds of thousands of people became unhoused and turned to SNAP benefits, known as CalFresh benefits in California, to get by because wages did not increase significantly. As communities with low incomes, communities of color, seniors, people with disabilities, and children continue to recover, this merger and others like it will only increase avoidable food insecurity. 

Check’s in the mail — Riverside County residents encouraged to cash reimbursements from juvenile court fees settlement

Check’s in the mail — Riverside County residents encouraged to cash reimbursements from juvenile court fees settlement

What would you do with an extra couple hundred dollars? How about an extra thousand, or more?

These questions are a welcome reality for many Riverside County families that were recently reimbursed after being charged with illegal juvenile court fees, and they could be a life-altering reality for many more community members who are still eligible for refunds — but time is running out.

Any parent or guardian who paid juvenile detention fees to Riverside County from December 2016 to April 2020 is encouraged to check their mail for a refund check.

The reimbursements are the result of a June 2023 settlement in a class action lawsuit, Freeman v. County of Riverside, brought against the County by parents and guardians impacted by juvenile court fees. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs — representing a class of some 1,200 people — alleged the County violated state and federal law when it charged millions of dollars in fees to families with children in juvenile detention, but failed both to ensure that families were able to pay the fees and to inform families of their right to challenge the fees. The plaintiff families are represented by the National Center for Youth Law and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. 

“We sincerely hope that all community members are able to access the money that is owed back to them,” said Hong Le, senior attorney with the National Center for Youth Law. “We’ve already seen the positive impacts these repayments have had on some class members. Everyone who was harmed by these illegal practices deserves this refund and to be able to use this money however they choose.”

Many checks remain uncashed

Riverside County, per the class-action settlement, agreed to pay $540,307 in refunds to class members. This came after the County agreed to stop collecting $4.1 million in outstanding juvenile detention and administrative fees following the filing of Freeman v. County of Riverside in March 2020.

More than $150,000 in reimbursement funds remain uncollected following the distribution of checks this summer. That money could be life-changing for many eligible recipients who may be unaware of their eligibility, which is why the National Center for Youth Law and the Western Center on Law and Poverty are recommending that community members check old mail they have lying around and that they encourage friends and family members who may have paid juvenile court fees to do the same.

Community members who have already cashed their checks have used the funds, among other ways, to get out of debt, to help with household bills, and to improve their living situations.

“If you think that you should have received a check, please call 833-472-1997 to see if you are eligible. The Settlement Administrator can reissue a check if it didn’t reach you. The settlement is the only case in the country where families are receiving refunds for fees charged to them when they had a child in the juvenile system. We don’t want any family to miss out on getting this money,” said Rebecca Miller, senior litigator with Western Center on Law and Poverty.

Visit here for more information about the lawsuit and settlement. Information from the Settlement Administrator can be accessed here.


The National Center for Youth Law centers youth through research, community collaboration, impact litigation, and policy advocacy that fundamentally transforms our nation’s approach to education, health, immigration, foster care, and youth justice. Our vision is a world in which every child thrives and has a full and fair opportunity to achieve the future they envision for themselves. For more information, visit

Western Center on Law and Poverty fights in courts, cities, counties, and in the Capitol to secure housing, health care, and a strong safety net for Californians with low incomes, through the lens of economic and racial justice. For more information, visit

Weekly Checklist: It’s Time to Update Your Employee Appearance Policy

FP Weekly members receive a practical and cutting-edge checklist of issues to consider, action steps to take, and goals to accomplish to ensure you remain on the top of your game when it comes to workplace relations and employment law compliance. This week we are republishing a checklist of items to consider when revising your employee appearance policy and dress code – an especially timely topic given the news that the U.S. Senate has relaxed its traditional dress code.

Evolving Workplace Expectations and Standards

Pandemic prompted changes. Many workplaces have become more casual in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this movement. Employers and co-workers alike probably don’t mind when a cat, dog, or child occasionally makes an appearance in a Zoom call, and they accept that many employees on those calls are wearing sweatpants with their camera-ready dress shirt. Moreover, many employers that want workers to return to the office have offered a variety of incentives, including a relaxed dress code.

What does this mean for your appearance standards? These changes should motivate you to think about how to strike a balance between employee comfort and the standards of professionalism for your particular company culture and industry. Every workplace is different, but in general, you should consider the following questions:


Will you create a general policy simply requiring employees to look professional and well-groomed? Or do you want to be more specific?


Will you require customer-facing employees to dress more professionally or formally than those who only interact with co-workers — whether in person or on camera?


Will you create a separate policy for Zoom meetings that may be more relaxed than your in-person appearance policy?


Do you want to be more specific about what attire is unacceptable in the office or on Zoom? For example, are jeans and a t-shirt allowed? What about baseball caps, sleeveless shirts, or hooded sweatshirts? Just be sure to review such policies for compliance with the workplace laws discussed in more detail below.

Hairstyle equity. In addition to pandemic-related changes over the last few years, calls for social justice led many jurisdictions to pass laws combating workplace racial bias based on hairstyle. In fact, 19 states and many localities have passed a version of the CROWN Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on natural or protective hairstyles. Natural hair has not been treated with chemicals that alter color or texture — such as bleach or straightener. Protective hairstyles — such as braids, locs, twists, or bantu knots — tuck the ends of the hair away to protect from sun, heat, and other damage.

Racial discrimination based on hairstyles is a part of everyday life for many Black adults, according to a study by the CROWN Coalition — which was founded by Dove, National Urban League, Color of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty. Moreover, a 2019 Dove CROWN study found that Black women were 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair and 30% more likely to be made aware of a formal workplace appearance policy than their co-workers.

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Western Center on Law and Poverty and Impact Fund Secure Momentous Win for 40 Million SNAP Recipients

For Immediate Release

September 21, 2023

Contacts: Monika Lee, [email protected]

Ashley LaFranchi, [email protected] 

Western Center on Law and Poverty and Impact Fund Secure Momentous Win for 40 Million SNAP Recipients

California – Millions of Americans with low incomes will now receive their food benefits without delay during the first month of a potential federal government shutdown, thanks to the government’s response to a nationwide class action brought by Western Center on Law and Poverty and Impact Fund. The USDA has committed to changing its accounting practice to now guarantee that over 40 million people will receive their SNAP benefits in October, beginning this year and continuing every year moving forward – regardless of a government shutdown. 

Previously, in the face of a government shutdown, benefits were only guaranteed through September, the end of the federal government’s fiscal year. This meant that each year people were unsure if they would receive life saving and hunger averting benefits unless Congress passed a budget.

SNAP recipients, represented by Western Center on Law and Poverty and the Impact Fund, filed suit in federal court in San Francisco on September 12, 2023, against the heads of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The suit, Erdmann-Browning v. Vilsack, seeks to prevent any delays in providing SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits if the government shuts down. Congress has still not passed a series of appropriations bills or a continuing resolution funding the government ahead of the September 30th deadline.

On September 19, the parties filed papers in court stating that the USDA has changed its accounting practices so that it funds benefits in advance of the month the benefits are available to households. This means that the existing SNAP appropriation was already available to fund the October SNAP benefits. This change is consistent with the federal definition of when federal funds are legally obligated.

Congressional political games continue to harm millions of people. The latest numbers from the Census Bureau show a staggering jump in poverty since the end of federal, state, and local pandemic protections. The poverty rate increased to 12.4 percent in 2022 up from 7.8 percent in 2021, “the largest one-year jump on record.” A combination of inflation, stagnated wages, increasing housing costs, and the end of pandemic era cash supplements has exacerbated the challenges people with low incomes face to make ends meet.  

“Today, we celebrate this important victory for over 40 million Americans who will now rest easy knowing their October benefits are guaranteed for the first time ever. However, we keep finding ourselves in this precarious situation year over year,” said Jodie Berger, senior attorney at Western Center on Law and Poverty. “It is important that every advocate, non-profit, food bank, elected official, and agency join hands to underscore the importance of food access and nutrition for the health, well-being, and more of our communities.” 

“Millions of Americans, many of whom are seniors, children, and people with disabilities, will now have a better sense of where their next meal is coming from this October. Food insecurity, lack of access to food, and hunger are preventable, as we saw during the height of the pandemic when policymakers moved swiftly to protect people,” said Lindsay Nako, Director of Litigation and Training at the Impact Fund. “Elected officials must move with speed and urgency again, because hunger is already at crisis levels and food banks continue to be overwhelmed.” 

The work is not yet over. Stalemates in Congress and extended negotiations will continue to impact over 40 million SNAP recipients who represent about 10% of Americans, who face uncertainty this November and in subsequent months if Congress does not pass a series of appropriations bills or a continuing resolution.


The Impact Fund uses impact litigation to support communities seeking justice and provides legal support for lawyers through grants, advocacy, and training events. For more information, visit

Western Center on Law & Poverty fights in courts, cities, counties, and in the Capitol to secure housing, health care, and a strong safety net for Californians with low incomes, through the lens of economic and racial justice. For more information, visit

US judge declines to issue TRO on government over SNAP benefits

A federal judge in Oakland decline Thursday to issue a temporary restraining order on the U.S. government to ensure that SNAP food benefits are authorized for October in case the government shuts down at the end of this month.

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar heard arguments on an ex parte motion in Oakland from plaintiff’s counsel and U.S. Department of Justice attorneys. His order came hours later.

At stake “is the food security of 40 million low-income Americans, more than 10% of the country’s population,” stated Jodie Berger of the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles, in a memorandum in support of the ex parte motion for a TRO and order to show cause regarding a preliminary injunction.

“Unless this court intervenes by Sept. 15, may – indeed, most – of these people will no receive the October Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) benefits that they rely on for their subsistence food needs,” Berger wrote.

Trial Date Set For Street Vendors’ Lawsuit to End City of L.A.’s “Unlawful & Discriminatory” No-Vending Zones


The vendors’ lawyers and three community empowerment organizations issued a statement after the trial-setting conference criticizing the City of LA’s leadership for its failure to take action.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, SEPTEMBER 5, 2023 – Today, L.A. Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant scheduled a trial date for the lawsuit brought by sidewalk vendor advocates and two sidewalk vending business owners against the City of Los Angeles. The suit challenges the City of Los Angeles’ unlawful restrictions on sidewalk vending, which plaintiffs allege violate a 2018 state law, SB 946, that legalized sidewalk vending statewide. In particular, the lawsuit addresses the City’s no-vending zones, which ban vending businesses from some of the most pedestrian-friendly parts of the City. The trial is set for February 15, 2024. 

Three community empowerment groups – Community Power Collective, East LA Community Corporation, and Inclusive Action for the City – which are organizational petitioners in the suit, and their public interest attorneys – Public Counsel and Western Center on Law & Poverty – issued a joint statement after today’s trial-setting conference:

“Every day that the City continues to enforce these unlawful vending restrictions, it contributes to the harm and persecution of sidewalk vendors. Because of these restrictions, vendors must choose between costly tickets and harassment from the Bureau of Street Services (Streets LA) investigators, or operating in isolated and unfamiliar areas where they struggle to make ends meet. Operating in isolated areas also makes vendors more vulnerable to acts of violence and crime. Sidewalk vendors are hard-working small business owners trying to earn an honest living and provide for their families, but these illegal no-vending zones and other restrictive regulations ostracize and bar them from equitable economic opportunity.

We are disappointed that the City has not stepped up to resolve this issue, and is instead allowing this case to go to trial. Many City leaders have been vocal in supporting street vendors, and some have even spoken out against these unlawful restrictions. Yet, in practice, the City continues enforcing draconian policies that discriminate against vendors in favor of brick-and-mortar businesses, which are allowed to set up sprawling outdoor dining operations on our public sidewalks in the exact areas where even a small vending cart is prohibited. As a result of this economic protectionism in favor of wealthier businesses, vendors are left alone to protect themselves and their fellow vendors. In response, vendors have organized themselves and built localized systems of power to challenge the City’s exclusionary policies and assert their legal right to vend within the City’s no-vending zones as active participants in these communities.

Vendor leaders have continuously offered clear and thoughtful solutions that promote equal economic opportunity in Los Angeles while addressing legitimate health and safety issues. The City has the power to end these unlawful and discriminatory policies, yet in the nine months since we filed this lawsuit, it has continued to enforce them, enabling the financial, physical, and psychological harm of its own residents. Instead of choosing to support economic development and working-class, immigrant communities, the City continues to engage in costly litigation. 

We are prepared to go to trial and are confident that the facts and law are on our side. Sidewalk vendors are part of the economic, social, and cultural fabric of Los Angeles, they have organized to protect themselves and each other against discriminatory policies, and we are proud to stand alongside them as they fight for dignity and respect under the law. Our movement will continue to support these efforts, whether that is in the streets, the halls of power, or in the courtroom.”

The lawsuit was filed in December 2022 by street vendors and the above coalition of community empowerment groups. In March 2023, Judge Chalfant rejected the City’s arguments to dismiss the case, allowing the suit to continue. Public Counsel, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP represent the petitioners.



Public Counsel: Public Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice, as well as to amplifying the power of our clients through comprehensive legal advocacy. Founded on and strengthened by a pro bono legal service model, our staff and volunteers seek justice through direct legal services, promote healthy and resilient communities through education and outreach, and support community-led efforts to transform unjust systems through litigation and policy advocacy in and beyond Los Angeles.

Arnold & Porter: With nearly 1,000 lawyers and 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia, Arnold & Porter’s lawyers practice in more than 40 practice groups across the litigation, regulatory and transactional spectrum to help clients with complex needs stay ahead of the challenges they face.

Community Power Collective: Community Power Collective builds power with low-income workers and tenants through transformative organizing to win economic justice, community control of land and housing, and to propagate systems of cooperation in Boyle Heights and the greater LA region.

East LA Community Corporation: ELACC is a Boyle Heights-based community development corporation that uses an equitable development model to engage residents traditionally left out of decision-making processes. In addition to affordable housing, they provide financial capability services through their Community Wealth department, which supports sidewalk vendors with free tax preparation, financial coaching, Technical Assistance, and social loans. ELACC is co-founder of the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign (LASVC) and has worked with micro-entrepreneurs for over a decade.

Inclusive Action for the City: Inclusive Action for the City (IAC) is a Community Development Financial Institution and nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles whose mission is to bring people together to build strong local economies that uplift low-income urban communities through advocacy and transformative economic development initiatives. IAC serves the community through policy advocacy, research, consulting services, business coaching, and a lending program, among other efforts. IAC is a co-founder of the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign and has worked with street vendors and other small business owners for more than 10 years.​

Western Center on Law & Poverty: Fights in courts, cities, counties, and in the Capitol to secure housing, health care, and a strong safety net for Californians with low incomes, through the lens of economic and racial justice. For more information, visit

Western Center’s Overview of the Final 2023-2024 California State Budget


The Governor and Legislature reached their 2023-2024 budget agreement, including a package of implementing bills detailing how California will spend $310 billion in revenues, manage a deficit, and maintain reserves for future uncertainty.  

After years of a budget surplus, California is forecasting a downturn in funding due to a combination of capital gains losses and delayed tax filings due to natural disasters, but California remains strong. The final budget reflects $37.8 billion in total budgetary reserves and additional funds from the Managed Care Organization tax.   

While the budget agreement avoids cuts to critical programs that communities with low incomes and communities of color rely on and investments in our safety net, there are still major gaps in the investments needed to build an equitable and thriving California. 


Health4All: The budget maintains full funding to expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to all income eligible adults ages 26-49 regardless of immigration status on January 1, 2024.  

Managed Care Organization (MCO) Tax: The budget includes a larger and accelerated MCO tax with an earlier start date (April 2023 through the end of 2026). This results in $19.4 billion in total funding, which will offset the General Fund with the majority going to Medi-Cal investments. Medi-Cal investments include increasing reimbursements rates to 87.5% of Medicare rates for primary care, birthing care, and non-specialty mental health care. Other provider reimbursement will be decided and spent over a 4-to 5-year period instead of 8- to 10- year period originally proposed by the Administration 

Covered California Affordability Funding: The budget rejects the proposed sweep of individual mandate penalty funds to the General Fund. Funds will be used as intended to lower costs of Covered CA plans and provides $82.5 million ($165 million ongoing) from penalty funds to lower copays and deductibles for about 900,000 Californians beginning January 1, 2024. The budget includes a $600 million loan from the Health Care Affordability Reserve Fund to the General Fund, to be repaid in 2025-26. 

Medi-Cal Transitional Rent: Funding to Medi-Cal plans under CalAIM community supports to allow up to six months of rent or temporary housing to eligible individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. 

Medi-Cal Asset Test Clean-up Language: The budget includes cleanup language from the 2022 Budget that expands Medi-Cal access for older adults and people with disabilities by eliminating the Medi-Cal asset test effective January 1, 2024. 

Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act: The budget includes additional funding to support the implementation of the CARE Act, including funding for earlier implementation for Los Angeles County and to double the number of hours per participant for legal services from 20 hours to 40 hours. 


The Budget invests $3.5 billion in additional funding for homelessness programs, including $1 billion for the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention grant program, which funds housing, outreach at encampments, emergency shelters and more. While there were no cuts, these investments represent a small portion of what it would take to tackle the crisis. With an estimated 171,521 unhoused residents living on the streets or in their cars, California is home to nearly one-third of the country’s entire homeless population. Looking forward, we will continue to advocate for ongoing long-term investments to ensure that deeply affordable housing units do not continue to languish in the pipeline, unhoused Californians need not wait months or years to access an affordable and accessible housing option, and we stem the inflow of Californians into homelessness through protecting their rights and preserving their affordable housing options. 

2023-24 Homelessness Investments include: 

Behavioral Health Bridge Housing Program: $1.5 billion over three years. 

Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program: $2.2 billion over five years for the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program, of which $50 million in 2022-23 is for the Department of General Services, with short-term statutory exemption, to deploy an estimated 1,200 small homes in the City of Los Angeles, County of Sacramento, City of San Jose, and County of San Diego as rapidly as possible. 

CalAIM Transitional Rent: $175.3 million ($40.8 million General Fund, $114.9 million federal funds, and $19.6 million Medi-Cal County Behavioral Health Fund) at full implementation to allow up to six months of rent or temporary housing to eligible individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. 

Encampment Resolution Funding Grants: $400 million in one-time General Fund for a third round of Encampment Resolution Funding grants. 


The 2021 and 2022 Budget Acts invested a combined $21.5 billion over multiple years to advance the greater availability of housing throughout California. The 2023 Budget largely maintains a portion of these commitments and includes a housing package of $14.7 billion for 2023-24. Overall, the proposal includes $500 million continued annual investment in the state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, $100 million for the Multifamily Housing Program, and $100 million for the Portfolio Reinvestment Program. These programs have a proven track-record of addressing housing affordability and homelessness across California.  

2023-24 Housing Investments include:  

Multifamily Housing Program: $100 million in 2023-24 for the Multifamily Housing Program for a total of $325 million in 2023-24.   

Dream For All:$500 million one-time General Fund to the California Housing Finance Agency for the Dream for All program, which provides shared-appreciation loans to help low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers achieve homeownership.  

CalHome:$350 million one-time General Fund ($250 million in the 2022 Budget Act and $100 million committed for 2023-24) for the Department of Housing and Community Development’s CalHome program, to provide local agencies and nonprofit agencies with grants to assist low- and very-low-income first-time homebuyers with housing assistance, counseling and technical assistance. The Budget withdraws $50 million one-time General Fund in 2023-24, leaving $300 million for this program.   

Foreclosure Intervention Housing Prevention Program:The 2021 Budget Act included $500 million one-time General Fund for the Foreclosure Intervention Housing Prevention Program, which provides funds to various non-profit organizations to acquire foreclosed property and operate as affordable housing. The Budget defers $330 million of the $500 million one-time General Fund over four fiscal years—for a revised allocation of: $82.5 million in 2023-24, $85 million in 2024-25, $100 million in 2025-26, and $62.5 million in 2026-27.   

Downtown Rebound Program:The 2000 Budget Act included $25 million one-time General Fund for the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide funding for adaptive reuse of commercial and industrial structures to residential housing. The Budget reverts $17.5 million in unexpended funding that remained in this program after the Notice of Funding Availability.   

One-time investments, especially at this limited scale, are not sufficient to meet our state’s affordable housing and homelessness needs. While the final budget falls short of our requests to meet the housing and homelessness crisis at scale, we look forward to continuing our budget advocacy in the coming years to encourage the Governor and Legislative leadership to prioritize a comprehensive, long-term investment strategy that prioritizes significant, ongoing funding to solve homelessness and ensure that every Californian has a safe, stable home that they can afford. Ongoing investments can address the disproportionate harms of skyrocketing housing costs, housing instability, and homelessness on Black, Indigenous, and people of color, people living in poverty, and other marginalized communities. 


CalWORKs: The budget includes a 3.6% increase to CalWORKs grants to continue efforts for No Child in Deep Poverty and makes permanent the 10% grant increase that took effect last October so no longer subject to a cut in 2024. Additionally, the budget requires CalWORKs grant display to account for households where the Assistance Unit does not account for all the people in the family, which applies to 60% of CalWORKs households. Unfortunately, the budget does not include Legislature’s proposal to implement the first phase of Reimagine CalWORKs despite UCSF’s new report that shows economic shocks are a key driver of homelessness that can be mitigated by reforming sanction. 

Food Assistance: The budget maximizes the new Summer EBT program, which will provide $40 per month in summertime food benefits to approximately 4 million children beginning in Summer 2024, bringing about $480 million in federally funded food benefits to California; initiates the CalFresh Minimum Nutrition Benefit Pilot Program, a $15 million pilot program to raise monthly minimum food benefits to $50 minimum from the current minimum of $23; approves the expansion of the California Food Assistance Program for adults age 55 and older, regardless of immigration status, to begin in late 2025, instead of January 2027; and approves improvement to EBT card security to protect CalFresh and CalWORKs families from theft. 

SSI/SSP: The budget includes an 8.6% increase to SSI/SSP grants and Cash Assistance for Immigrants (CAPI) program. Effective January 2024, this allocation will provide recipients with an increase in grant levels to $1,134 per month and $1,928 per month for couples. 

Humanitarian support: The budget approves $150 million for the Rapid Response program, which funds sheltering and humanitarian support at the Southern border.  

Safety Net Reserve: The budget rejects the May Revision proposal to draw $450 million from the safety net reserve.   

For questions, contact: 

  • Health:  Linda Nguy, Senior Policy Advocate – lnguy[at]; Sandra Poole, Policy Advocate – spoole[at] 
  • Housing and Homelessness: Cynthia Castillo, Policy Advocate – ccastillo[at]; Tina Rosales, Policy Advocate – trosales[at] 
  • Public Benefits/ Access to Justice:  Linda Nguy, Senior Policy Advocate – lnguy[at]; Christopher Sanchez, Policy Advocate – csanchez[at] 

Black Parallel School Board, SCUSD Reach Settlement

The Black Parallel School Board and several families have reached a settlement with the Sacramento City Unified School District in a lawsuit that challenged the district’s long-standing practice of excluding and segregating Black students with disabilities.

Initially filed in 2019, the lawsuit accused SCUSD of discriminatory segregation of students with disabilities and Black students with disabilities into highly restrictive classrooms and schools, plus other harmful practices laid bare in a 2017 report, based on a district self-audit.

Plaintiffs alleged this failure contributed to grossly disparate rates of suspension and expulsion of Black students that were among the state’s worst for Black boys in 2018-19, as well as for students with disabilities.

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Familias y jóvenes recibirán reembolsos en efectivo del Condado de Riverside luego de un acuerdo de demanda

Familias y jóvenes recibirán reembolsos en efectivo del Condado de Riverside luego de un acuerdo de demanda

Condado en el sur de California pagará $540K relacionados con multas y cuotas juveniles 

CONDADO DE RIVERSIDE, CALIF. – Patricia Segura pasó casi una década tratando de pagar una deuda de la que a veces no estaba segura de que se iba escapar.

La residente del Condado de Riverside y madre soltera de cinco hijos luchó para hacer los pagos que le dijeron que debía, lo que provocó que perdiera los reembolsos de impuestos y sufriera daño en su puntaje de crédito en el camino. Todo porque el Condado de Riverside quería que pagara miles de dólares en cuotas por el tiempo que su hijo, en ese entonces un adolescente, pasó en una colocación juvenil.

“Se sintió tan injusto,” dijo la Sra. Segura sobre la situación en la que se encontraba. “Estaba tratando de hacer lo mejor que podía por mis hijos, y el Condado me cobraba y me quitaba el dinero que necesitaba para cuidarlos.”

La familia de la Sra. Segura es uno de los 1,200 miembros de la comunidad del Condado de Riverside que ahora son eligibles para el reembolso.

El 2 de junio, un juez otorgó la aprobación definitiva de un acuerdo en una demanda colectiva, Freeman contra County of Riverside, presentada contra el Condado por padres y guardianes afectados por multas y cuotas de detención juveniles. En la demanda, los demandantes alegaron que el Condado violó la ley estatal y federal cuando cobró millones de dólares en cuotas a familias con niños en detención juvenil, pero no se aseguró de que las familias pudieran pagar las cuotas ni informar a las familias sobre su derecho a desafiar las cuotas.

Según el acuerdo, el Condado acepta pagar $540,307 en reembolsos a los miembros colectivos. Esto es después de que el Condado acordó, luego de la presentación de la demanda en marzo de 2020, dejar de cobrar $4.1 millones en cuotas administrativas y de detención de menores pendientes. Las familias demandantes están representadas por el National Center for Youth Law (traducción: el Centro Nacional para las Leyes de Menores) y el Western Center on Law and Poverty (traducción: el Centro Occidental de Leyes y Pobreza).

“La colección de estas cuotas por parte del Condado ha devastado a las familias en apuros,” dijo Michael Harris, un abogado y Director Senior de Abogacía Jurídica y Equidad en el National Center for Youth Law. “Esas familias ahora recibirán ayuda financiera, y este acuerdo pone sobre aviso a otras jurisdicciones que están evaluando y recaudando dinero ilegalmente.”

Gran victoria

El acuerdo marca una victoria significativa para las familias del Condado de Riverside, algunas de las cuales, como la Sra. Segura, se han visto atrapadas en ciclos de turbulencias financieras que duran décadas como resulto de las prácticas de colección del Condado.

Los demandantes Shirley y Daniel Freeman también fueron perseguidos por el Condado durante más de 10 años por cuotas relacionadas con el tiempo que pasó su nieto en detención juvenil.

“Shirley y yo presentamos esta demanda porque queríamos ayudar a otras familias a recibir justicia por lo que sucedió,” dijo Daniel Freeman. “Después de un largo viaje, estoy orgulloso de lo que ha logrado este caso.”

“Muchas familias en Riverside pueden dar un suspiro de alivio cuando estas cuotas juveniles injustas se eliminan y reembolsan,” dijo Rebecca Miller, abogada con el Western Center on Law and Poverty.  “Pero muchas personas en California todavía están agobiadas por deudas penales y juveniles inasequibles, aun con leyes que exigen que el gobierno considere su capacidad de pago. Las familias con bajos ingresos y las familias de color enfrentan la peor parte de esta deuda, despojando la riqueza de sus comunidades y negándoles la oportunidad de prosperar económicamente.”

La Sra. Segura dijo que estaba encantada de saber que calificaba para el reembolso cuando recibió una carta por correo.

“Espero que otras familias a las que les haya pasado lo mismo también se enteren del acuerdo y recuperen parte del dinero que pagaron,” ella dijo.

Las familias de las cuales el Condado de Riverside colectó cuotas de detención juvenil deberían haber recibido un aviso por correo sobre el acuerdo. Los padres y guardianes que creen que podrían ser miembros de la demanda colectiva con derecho a reparación en virtud del acuerdo, pero que no han recibido un aviso por correo, deben visitar el sitio del Administrador del Acuerdo en o llamar al (833) 472-1997.


El National Center for Youth Law centra a los jóvenes a través de la investigación, la colaboración comunitaria, el litigo de impacto y la defensa de políticas que transforman fundamentalmente el enfoque de nuestra nación en la educación, la salud, inmigración, el cuidado de crianza y la justicia juvenil. Nuestra visión es un mundo en el que todos los niños prosperen y tengan la oportunidad plena y justa de lograr el futuro que imaginan para sí mismos. Para más información, visite

Western Center on Law and Poverty lucha en tribunales, ciudades, condados, y en el capitolio para asegurar vivienda, atención médica y una sólida red de seguridad para los Californianos con bajos ingresos, a través del lente de la justicia económica y racial. Para más información, visite