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California has the 5th largest economy in the world, but it also has the highest rate of poverty in the United States. Close to 20 percent of Californians live at or below the poverty line, and two million of them are children. Western Center on Law & Poverty works to combat this reality in an effort to make our state a more equitable place to live.

Living in poverty is extraordinarily difficult, and ironically, can be expensive. We work to give more options to people who need them by…

  • Expanding access to jobs, take home income, and opportunity for Californians experiencing poverty.
  • Ensuring state and local governments adequately implement mandated public benefits, and taking them to court if and when they don’t.
  • Reducing the criminalization of poverty and racial bias in anti-poverty programs, public institutions, work environments, and child support systems.
  • Fighting to end the high costs of poverty by reducing or eliminating high fees, fines and costs associated with the criminal justice system, traffic courts, parking tickets and towing of cars.
  • Ending predatory financial services and laws that allow debt-collector-take-all practices.