January 2022: Settlement in Warren V. City of Chico – After Legal Services of Northern California and Western Center won a preliminary injunction, the City of Chico agreed to build individual shelters for unhoused residents, and people can no longer be arrested or cited for sleeping outside when shelter is unavailable.
December 2021: Western Center, Inland Counties Legal Services, and Public Interest Law Project settled our case against the County of San Bernardino, resulting in several changes to the county’s General Relief program to help more people in extreme poverty access vital financial assistance. General Relief is the program administered by California counties to provide cash assistance to adults without any other income or resources to meet their basic needs. The case prompted the county to make substantial changes to its General Relief process, making it easier to access and maintain moving forward. The biggest change is the dollar increase in assistance.
November 2021: Western Center filed a lawsuit alongside Disability Rights California on behalf of a parent group in Torrance, CA to stop discrimination against Latinx families seeking services at Harbor Regional Center.
November 2021: Western Center filed a lawsuit alongside Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and Public Interest Law Project against LA County for failing to follow state law for getting emergency food benefits to people who need it within three days.
August 2021: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an ordinance in the City of Los Angeles deferring some rental obligations and severely limiting the grounds for evictions for the duration of the pandemic emergency. Western Center, co-counseling with Susman Godfrey, Public Interest Law Project, and Public Counsel, represents two community organizations who successfully intervened in defense of the ordinance.
May 2021: Western Center, Bay Area Legal Aid, Central California Legal Services, Multiforum Advocacy Solutions, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, and the National Health Law Program settled Rivera v. Kent. Hundreds of thousands of Californians with low incomes will now have speedier access to health care thanks to this seven-year lawsuit, which requires California’s Department of Health Care Services to allow eligible Medi-Cal applicants to receive health coverage right away, rather than waiting weeks for verification.
We filed this case on behalf of people like our plaintiff Frances Rivera, who lost her adult son to a treatable condition while he waited for the state to approve his Medi-Cal application. Shortly after he died—more than six months after he first applied—Rivera received her son’s approval for Medi-Cal.
April 2021: Western Center and Impact Fund settled our lawsuit, Hall v. USDA, which we filed to challenge USDA guidance from 2020 that denied people receiving the maximum amount of SNAP food benefits the additional emergency allotments authorized by Congress for the pandemic – namely those with little or no income. Under the terms of the settlement, USDA agreed to stop enforcing the rule in California. The day following the settlement, USDA issued new guidance to provide emergency allotments to all SNAP households.