January 20, 2011

HACLA Tenants and Other LA Human Right to Housing Collective Members File Lawsuit against Housing Authority

Tenants who were excluded from recent public meetings and processes file suit for violations of the State’s Brown Act and tenants’ right to organize

What: Last month, LA Human Right to Housing Collective members filed a lawsuit in State court to address the Housing Authority’s violations of the right to participate in public processes during the contentious 2011 Agency Plan approval.  The lawsuit will be formally served to HACLA representatives today.

Why: HACLA continuously fails to provide adequate notice for the Board of Commissioner meetings, and regularly takes actions that exclude the public from real participation, all actions that violate the Brown Act. During the 2011 Agency Plan approval process last year, the Housing Authority used a variety of tactics to exclude tenants from participating, provided misinformation to tenants and tenant organizations, and excluded tenant rights organizations from their legal right to educate and associate with tenants upon invitation. Additionally, HACLA continues patterns and practices that violate the Brown Act, such as holding special meetings in lieu of regular meetings, posting agendas only on the door of HACLA on weekends, and not allowing the public into meetings or to address the Board.  Tenants active in the LA Human Right to Housing Collective have taken steps to counteract HACLA’s exclusionary tactics but after HACLA refused to respond to letters with demands to correct these issues, tenants had no choice but to initiate legal action to invalidate the 2011 Plan and correct the participation process in the future.

Who: Los Angeles Right to Housing Collective is a coalition of organizations from across the City of Los Angeles.  Our members consist of tenants, homeowners, immigrants, low income families, homeless people, seniors and youth from across Los Angeles, including East LA, Downtown, South Central, Venice, Koreatown, and Pico Union.  Member organizations include Union de Vecinos, LACAN, POWER,¡Comunidad Presente!, Inquilinos Unidos, SAJE, and others.  We believe that affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary housing builds stable communities and that housing must be accessible to everyone. In a country with an abundance of resources housing should not be out of reach for the most poor and the most in need.