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A Western Center intervention kept Sheila in her home, and set a nationwide precedent.


When Sheila became disabled, she was laid off, and she was forced to rely on a Section 8 voucher to afford housing. She received a personal injury settlement, which was placed into a Special Needs Trust only accessible for disability-related needs. When the Santa Monica Housing Authority treated the trust disbursements as income and illegally raised Ms. Finley’s rent, Western Center sued and won on Sheila’s behalf (Finley v. Santa Monica Housing Authority), ensuring that her monthly rent remained affordable. The case set a nationwide precedent for Special Needs Trusts.

“I knew I could prove my case, but it was so overwhelming, I just wanted to give up. It was really impressive to hear the attorneys state their position in front of the judge. This is what lawyers are supposed to be like.”