10 Years of Partnership, Facing the Challenge Award, and Tenant Protections

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Working Together for Ten Years

This month, the Law Foundation celebrates the tenth anniversary of our Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Just as a doctor refers someone with a specific medical need to a specialist, the MLP allows doctors to refer a patient to a lawyer. Sometimes, a patient's health is affected by legal issues in their lives. For example, a child living in a house with poor conditions can experience asthma a result and may miss school.  A lawyer can make a difference. Last year, the MLP had 600 referrals. And in 2017, the National Association of Medical Legal Partnerships voted ours the best in the country. Click here to hear from Michelle, who received help from our MLP team when her son wasn't receiving the educational support he needed.

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CEO Alison Brunner Recognized by African American Community Service Agency

The African American Community Service Agency (AACSA) awarded Alison Brunner, CEO of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, with the Facing the Challenge Award at its 39th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon. The honor is given to an advocate for the development of organizations that provide services to improve our community. Thank you to AACSA for this important honor and shared commitment to the community.

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Expanding Tenant Protections in San Jose

Last year, Law Foundation attorneys and staff advocated strongly on behalf of our clients and community for greater tenant protections in San Jose. In December, the San Jose City Council supported the position of the Law Foundation and our coalition partners by expanding tenant protections. These protections will improve the lives of low-income and working-class families in their search for affordable housing, including an ordinance to protect Section 8 voucher holders. In Santa Clara County, Section 8 vouchers are the most common form of subsidized housing, with about 17,000 participants. Through this program, low-income families pay roughly 30 percent of their income toward rent and the remaining is paid by a government agency. Read more.

We're moving (down the street) and here's why.

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The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley helps thousands of people every year who experience evictions, uninhabitable living situations, and possible displacement from their community. And the nonprofit sector, the Law Foundation included, has not been immune to the crisis. 

A recent survey of Silicon Valley organizations by the Northern California Grantmakers reported that one-third of nonprofits have been forced to relocate in the past five years. And an even higher number of organizations that serve low-income and communities of color anticipated moving. Many organizations reported concerns about their long-term financial sustainability because of the high-priced real estate market.

For the last ten years, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley has been located in downtown San Jose, ensuring that our clients can conveniently access our staff, attorneys, and resources. This is crucial because our clients are often facing time-sensitive, life-changing issues, like an abrupt end to their disability benefits, an eviction, or entrance into the foster care system. 

Last year, the Law Foundation was notified that the building we are currently in was being sold, with no possibility of a lease continuation. The executive team worked diligently with JLL Partners, searching for possible locations throughout Santa Clara County. All options were considered, including outside of downtown San Jose. All final options meant increased costs and reduced square footage. Ultimately, the decision was to stay in downtown San Jose.

While staying in downtown San Jose significantly increases our rent costs, our organization can't deliver on its mission of providing free legal services to under-represented communities if they can't access us easily. 

Starting on Monday, March 4, our new offices will be located at 4 North Second Street, Suite 1300. 

As we look toward the future, we believe the Law Foundation's success is dependent on being accessible to our clients, most of whom are low-income or living with a disability. And we hope that you share in our commitment to this mission by continuing your support of our work, now more than ever.

If you would like to see our new location in person and talk more about the work we do, please contact communications@lawfoundation.org.

Sự Ảnh Hưởng từ việc Chính Phủ Đóng Cửa - Những Câu Hỏi Thường Gặp


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Cập nhật ngày 18/1/2019

Chính phủ đóng cửa là gì và nó có thể ảnh hưởng đến tôi như thế nào?

Chính phủ đã không thông qua dự luật chi tiêu, có nghĩa là ngân sách cho một số liên bang cơ quan đã cạn kiệt. Những bộ phận này đóng cửa, ngừng cung cấp dịch vụ và

nhân viên bị sa thải hoặc buộc phải làm việc mà không được trả lương. Có 9 bộ phận bị ảnh hưởng bởi sự ngừng hoạt động của chính phủ, bao gồm Nhà Ở, Phát Triển Đô Thị và Sở Nông nghiệp, có thể ảnh hưởng đến phiếu trợ cấp cho nhà ở và phiếu trợ cấp thực phẩm.

 Lợi ích của tôi sẽ bị ảnh hưởng?

CalFresh (Phiếu thực phẩm / SNAP)

  • Nếu quý vị sống ở Quận Hạt Santa Clara và nhận CalFresh (tem thực phẩm), quý vị sẽ nhận trợ cấp tháng 2 của quý vị vào hoặc khoảng ngày 15 tháng 1 năm 2019. Điều quan trọng là quý vị nên lập chi tiêu phần trợ cấp những gì quý vị nhận được vì chúng sẽ chi trả cho toàn bộ tháng hai.

  • Nếu quý vị điền vào đơn gia hạn sau ngày 14 tháng 1, quý vị sẽ nhận được tem thực phẩm của quý vị trong khoảng thời gian từ ngày 1 đến ngày 10 tháng 2 năm 2019.

  • Chúng tôi không biết liệu quý vị sẽ nhận được lợi ích CalFresh vào tháng 3 hay không nếu chính phủ vẫn tiếp tục ngưng hoạt động. Quý vị nên suy nghĩ cân nhắc về các nguồn thực phẩm khác trong tháng ba nếu chính phủ vẫn tiếp tục ngưng hoạt động. The Law Foundation sẽ cập nhật thông tin khi có thông báo mới

  • Quận Hạt sẽ chấp nhận các đơn xin CalFresh mới trong thời gian chính phủ ngưng hoạt động. Xin gọi điện 1-800-948-3663 để biết thêm thông tin đăng ký CalFresh.

  • Bất cứ ai cần thực phẩm nên gọi đến đường dây nóng Food Connection tại 1-800-984-3663 hoặc nhắn tin “GETFOOD” đến 405-455-5181

Tất cả các lợi ích khác (Medi-Cal, Hỗ trợ chung, CalWORKS, Medicare, Social Security / SSI, CAPI, Lợi ích chăm sóc nuôi dưỡng) hiện không bị ảnh hưởng bởi việc ngừng hoạt động.

 Nếu tôi có phiếu trợ cấp nhà ở Section 8, tôi sẽ bị ảnh hưởng như thế nào?

Cơ quan Nhà Ở Quận Hạt Santa Clara (Housing Authority) sẽ thanh toán đến hết tháng Hai. Nếu việc ngừng hoạt động tiếp tục, có thể Cơ Quan Nhà Ở sẽ không thanh toán tiền thuê nhà cho quý vị được trong tháng ba. 

Cơ quan Nhà Ở và Law Foundation sẽ cập nhật thông tin mới nhất và quý vị nên theo dõi thông báo bằng cách kiểm tra trang mạng của Cơ quan Nhà Ở.

 Chúng tôi đề nghị quý vị nên tiếp tục trả tiền thuê nhà theo định kỳ ngay cả khi Cơ quan Nhà Ở dừng hoặc trì hoãn thanh toán vì việc ngừng hoạt động.

Tôi có thể bị đuổi nếu chủ nhà của tôi không nhận được khoản thanh toán từ chính phủ liên bang không?

Ngay cả khi Cơ quan Nhà Ở không chi trả tiền thuê nhà, quý vị sẽ không chịu trách nhiệm đối với phần tiền thuê nhà từ Cơ quan Nhà Ở, theo quy định của HUD, quý vị sẽ đuợc bảo vệ pháp lý nếu Chủ nhà cố đuổi quý vị đi vì lý do trên. 

Quý vị nên tiếp tục trả phần tiền thuê nhà của quý vị

 Nếu quý vị nhận được thông báo trục xuất, bị đe dọa trục xuất, hoặc có câu hỏi xin vui lòng NGAY LẬP TỨC liên hệ gọi số của chúng tôi: (408) 280-2424.

 Tòa án liên bang bị ảnh hưởng như thế nào?

Bắt đầu từ ngày 25 tháng 1, ngân sách cho các tòa án liên bang sẽ hết. Nếu quỹ bổ sung sẳn sàng để dùng, các tòa án sẽ chỉ tập trung vào những “công việc thiết yếu” đồng nghĩa là những vụ án dân sự có thể bị trì hoãn. Điều này bao gồm các thủ tục nhập cư, các thủ tục loại bỏ và quyết định về đơn xin tị nạn.

 Có ảnh hưởng đến thủ tục phúc lợi trẻ em hay không?

Chúng tôi không biết. Chúng tôi sẽ cập nhật câu hỏi này với Bộ thông tin sau khi chúng tôi tìm hiểu. Nếu chúng tôi có cập nhật từ Bộ Gia đình và Dịch vụ Trẻ em, thông báo sẽ được đăng trên trang web của chúng tôi (www.lawfoundation.org).

 Tôi có thể làm gì để giúp đỡ?

Vui lòng liên hệ với các viên quan chức được bầu của quý vị để cho họ biết cần phải chấm dứt việc ngưng hoạt động. Quý vị nên giải thích cụ thể những ảnh hưởng từ việc chính phủ ngưng hoạt động đến quý vị. Quý vị có thể gọi cho Tổng đài Quốc hội Hoa Kỳ để tiếp cận Thượng Nghị Sĩ hoặc Đại diện của quý vị: (202) 224-3121.

 Nếu tôi có câu hỏi hoặc cần giúp đỡ, tôi có thể liên hệ với ai?

Vui lòng liên hệ với Law Foundation. Đối với các câu hỏi về lợi ích, hãy gọi (408) 280-2420. Dành cho câu hỏi về nhà ở, gọi (408) 280-2424. Đối với câu hỏi về thủ tục nhập cư hoặc phúc lợi trẻ em, xin vui lòng gọi (408) 280-2416.

Efectos del cierre parcial del Gobierno – Preguntas Frecuentes

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Actualizado el 18 de enero de 2019

¿Qué es el cierre parcial del gobierno y cómo podría afectarme?

 El gobierno no ha aprobado un proyecto de ley de gasto lo que significa que los fondos federales han dejado de llegar a las agencias federales. Esos departamentos se cierran, dejan de prestar servicios y sus trabajadores son despedidos o forzados a trabajar sin paga. Hay 9 departamentos afectados por el cierre parcial, incluyendo el de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano y el Departamento de Agricultura, lo cual podría afectar los vales de vivienda y cupones de alimentos.

 ¿Cómo se afectan mis beneficios?

CalFresh (Estampillas de comida / SNAP)

  • Si usted vive en el condado de Santa Clara y recibe CalFresh (cupones de alimentos), recibirá sus beneficios de febrero aproximadamente el 15 de enero de 2019. Los fondos que debería de recibir en marzo se los dan en febrero, es importante hacer el dinero rendir, ya que no creemos que vaya a haber fondos para las estampillas a partir de marzo 2019.

  • Si usted solicitó la renovación después del 14 de enero, recibirá sus cupones de alimentos entre el 1ero. y el 10 de febrero de 2019.

  • No sabemos si usted recibirá los beneficios de CalFresh para marzo si continúa el cierre de gobierno. Debería pensar en otras fuentes de alimentos para marzo si continúa el cierre de gobierno. Law Foundation publicará información actualizada cuando esté disponible.

  • El Condado aceptará nuevas solicitudes de CalFresh durante el cierre. Llame 1-800-948-3663 para más información sobre cómo solicitar CalFresh.

  • Las personas que necesitan alimentos deben llamar a la línea directa de Food Connection 1-800-984-3663 o enviar el mensaje de texto "GETFOOD" al 405-455-5181

Los otros beneficios (Medi-Cal, Asistencia General, CalWORKS, Medicare, Seguro Social / SSI, CAPI, Beneficios de cuidado de crianza) ahora no están afectados durante el cierre.

¿Cómo estaré afectado si tengo un cupón de vivienda de la Sección 8?

Housing Authority del Condado de Santa Clara hará los pagos hasta febrero. Si el cierre de gobierno continúa se desconoce si Housing Authority emitirá el alquiler en marzo. Housing Authority y Law Foundation proporcionarán información actualizada. Manténgase informado visitando el sitio web de Housing Authority.

Nosotros recomendamos que usted continúe pagando la renta aun si Housing Authority para o retrasa el pago debido al cierre.

 ¿Me pueden desalojar si el propietario no recibe el pago del gobierno federal?

Si Housing Authority no paga el alquiler, usted no tiene la responsabilidad de la porción de renta de Housing Authority. Según las regulaciones de HUD, usted tiene una defensa si el propietario trata de desalojarle. 

Debe continuar pagando su porción del alquiler.

Si recibe un aviso de desalojo, se amenaza con desalojarlo o si tiene preguntas, por favor contáctenos inmediatamente llamando al (408) 280-2424.

¿Cómo son afectados los tribunales federales?

A partir del 25 de enero, la financiación para los tribunales federales se agotará. Si los fondos adicionales no están disponibles, los tribunales solo se enfocarán en los “casos esenciales" y  eso significa que algunos casos civiles podrían retrasarse. Estos incluyen los procedimientos de inmigración como los procedimientos de expulsión y decisiones sobre solicitudes de asilo.

 ¿Hay un impacto en los procedimientos de bienestar infantil?

No sabemos. Actualizaremos esta forma de FF.PP. con información a medida que la obtengamos. Si tenemos actualizaciones del Departamento de Servicios para Niños y Familias, se publicarán en nuestro sitio web (www.lawfoundation.org).

 ¿Qué puedo hacer para ayudar?

Contacte sus funcionarios electos para informarles que el cierre de gobierno debe terminar, explicando cómo le está afectando el cierre. Puede llamar al Panel de Control del Capitolio de los Estados Unidos para contactar a su senador o representante: (202) 224-3121.

 Si tengo una pregunta o necesito ayuda, ¿a quién puedo contactar?

Por favor contacte Law Foundation. Si tiene preguntas sobre beneficios, llame al (408) 280-2420. Para preguntas sobre vivienda, llame al (408) 280-2424. Para preguntas sobre trámites de inmigración o bienestar infantil, por favor llame al (408) 280-2416.

FAQs: Effects from the Government Shutdown

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Updated: February 1, 2019

What is the government shutdown and how could it affect me?

The government has not passed a spending bill, which means funding for some federal agencies has run out. Those departments close up, stop providing services, and their workers are furloughed or forced to work without pay. There are 9 departments affected by the shutdown, including the Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture, which could affect housing vouchers and food stamps.

Will my benefits be affected?

CalFresh (Food Stamps/SNAP)

  • UPDATE 2/1/2019: Food and Nutrition Service has confirmed that benefits for March will be fully funded, even if a federal spending plan is not approved by the 2/15/2019 deadline. The Law Foundation will issue updated information as it becomes available.

  • If you live in Santa Clara County and receive CalFresh (food stamps), you will receive your February benefits on or about January 15, 2019. It is important to budget what you receive as they will cover the entire month of February.

  • If you filled out a renewal after January 14, you will receive your food stamps between February 1 and 10, 2019.

  • The County will accept new CalFresh applications during the shutdown. Call 1-800-948-3663 for more information applying for CalFresh.

  • Anyone who needs food should call the Food Connection hotline at 1-800-984-3663 or text “GETFOOD” to 405-455-5181

All other benefits (Medi-Cal, General Assistance, CalWORKS, Medicare, Social Security/SSI, CAPI, Foster Care Benefits) are not currently impacted by the shutdown.

1/30/2018 UPDATE: TANF Extension Signed Into Law

On January 22, the Senate passed by voice vote H.R. 430 – The TANF Extension Act of 2019, which will extend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through June 30, 2019. The bill passed in the House of Representatives on January 14 and was signed by the President on January 24. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be able to distribute the second quarter payments to states for TANF, as well as mandatory child care funding (Child Care Entitlement to States). Once the bill has been enacted, HHS has stated that it will take four business days for the second quarterly payments to be made.

If I have a Section 8 housing voucher, how will I be impacted?

The Santa Clara County Housing Authority will make payments through February. If the shutdown continues, it is unknown if it will be making rent payment in March. The Housing Authority and the Law Foundation will provide updated information and you should stay informed by checking the Housing Authority’s website.

We urge you to continue to pay rent regularly even if the Housing Authority stops or delays payment because of the shutdown.

Can I be evicted if my landlord doesn’t receive payment from the federal government?

Even if the Housing Authority does not pay rent, you are not responsible for the Housing Authority’s portion of the rent and, under HUD regulations, you have a defense if your Landlord tries to evict you. You should continue to pay your portion of the rent.

If you receive an eviction notice, are threatened with eviction, or have questions please IMMEDIATELY contact call our intake number: (408) 280-2424.

How are the federal courts affected?

Starting January 25, funding for federal courts would run out. If additional funds are not available, the courts will only focus on “essential work” which could mean some civil cases could be delayed. This includes immigration proceedings, including removal proceedings and decisions on asylum applications.

Is there an impact on child welfare proceedings?

We do not know. We will update this FAQ with information as we learn it. If we have updates from the Department of Family and Children’s Services, they will be posted on our website.

Can furloughed federal workers apply for unemployment?

At the direction of Governor Newsom, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) is streamlining the processing for impacted federal workers and providing benefits to eligible employees who are furloughed or continue to work but do not collect a paycheck. Click here for more information.  

If my identity or social security number is compromised, how am I impacted?

 As of Jan. 22, the Federal Trade Commission, which manages the website used to report identify theft (IdentityTheft.gov), is closed.  Currently, the website to generate letters and forms is not active.

What can I do to help?

Please contact your elected officials to let them know the shutdown needs to end. You should explain how the shutdown is affecting you. You can call the United States Capitol Switchboard to reach your Senator or Representative: (202) 224-3121.

If I have a question or need help, who can I contact?

Please contact the Law Foundation. For questions about benefits, call (408) 280-2420. For questions about housing, call (408) 280-2424. For questions about immigration proceedings or child welfare, please call (408) 280-2416.

Law Foundation's Favorites of 2018!

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Whether it's by reading, listening, or watching, there are many ways to stay informed and engaged with the issues that shape our society. Each week in December, we will be sharing our "Favorites of 2018" with you about each of our focus areas - it's a gift from us to you, for everything you've done to support the Law Foundation this year. These favorites, from our board, attorneys, staff, and volunteers will include podcasts, books, articles, and documentaries, that contextualize the issues our clients and community are facing and highlight why our work is critical in creating a stronger Silicon Valley.  

Our hope is that this list is a starting point that sparks larger conversations with your friends, family, and colleagues, and that it inspires you to be more involved in our community (and with us!).

You can help us by making a gift to the Law Foundation today. All gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. We can't do our work without you. Thank you for your commitment to justice.


HOUSING

"The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein

The history of residential segregation in the United States is long and disturbing, and the government, at all levels, has created and perpetuated this ongoing segregation that still defines our neighborhoods and communities. As Rothstein writes: "We have created a caste system in this country, with African-Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies. Although most of these policies are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endure." Through a historical analysis, Rothstein makes a case for the United States and its government having a constitutional obligation to remedy segregation in housing. Read the New York Times Review.

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Who Belongs? Podcast - Rent Control

This episode of a podcast by the Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley examines aspects of the housing crisis - skyrocketing rent prices, stagnant wages, housing shortages - and how they connect to homelessness and increased social costs, such as sense of belonging, sense of community and social support, children's academic performance, physical and mental health, environmental health, and air quality. Listen here.

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"Struggle for Black and Latino Mortgage Applicants Suggests Modern-Day Redlining" - PBS

Discrimination based on race has been illegal for 50 years since the passing of the Fair Housing Act. Yet problems like redlining (a discriminatory practice by which banks and insurance companies refuse or limit loans, mortgages, insurance, etc., within specific geographic areas, especially inner-city neighborhoods) persist - in 61 metro areas, people of color are more likely to be denied a conventional mortgage. Watch here.


CHILDREN & YOUTH

"Congratulations, You're On Your Own: Life After Foster Care" - Documentary

In this documentary, you'll follow a group of young adults as they tell their stories about navigating foster care and the hardships they face as they transition out of the system. When young people "age out" of the foster care system (they reach 21-years-old, the maximum age requirement needed for their caregiver to receive financial support), they are often forced to leave their guardian's home and figure out life on their own. These real-life stories remind us of our own clients who face the same hardships - nearly every foster care youth in Santa Clara County is assigned a Law Foundation attorney and we work tirelessly to ensure their safety and security. Watch here.

ACLU "On Liberty" Podcast about School Discipline

The school-to-prison pipeline severely affects students who are facing increased police presence at school and severe punishments for routine misbehavior that can result in arrest and criminal charges - and students of color are disproportionately impacted. In this podcast, the ACLU discusses the pipeline and what it means for our children. As part of the Law Foundation's education rights work, we assist students when they or their parents feel they are mistreated at school or are not receiving adequate resources to succeed. Listen here.

"Foster Care's Burn Book on Me" by Noel Anaya

Former foster youth Noel Anaya was placed in foster care when he was one-year-old. In this article, Anaya tells his emotional, empowering story as he obtains his foster care court records - 10 binders of paperwork detailing his life in the system. For foster youth, obtaining their court records can be an enlightening and critical step when moving into adulthood. Anaya is also working on a documentary about teens in the system and his own experience (keep an eye out for Law Foundation attorney Ben Ebert!). Watch the trailer here.


HEALTH

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55 Steps

Based on a true story, this film explores an uphill legal fight for a patient's rights that led to Riese v. St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Care Center. In this case, brought in the name of Eleanor Riese by the California ACLU, the California State Court of Appeals declared that patients in involuntary mental health treatment have the right to exercise informed consent in most cases regarding the use of antipsychotic drugs. This case still governs the hearings conducted by the Law Foundation's Patients' Rights Unit and established a legal standard for determining capacity to refuse psychiatric medications that are used nationally and around the world. Featuring an award-winning cast, including Helena Bonham Carter and Hilary Swank, this film tells an inspiring and heartfelt story of friendship and combating mistreatment. Watch here.

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Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act - Immigration Enforcement

Comedian and host of the Netflix show "Patriot Act," Hasan Minhaj analyzes and contextualizes United States' xenophobic immigration policies by exploring the history of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other issues that contribute to the current anti-immigrant climate, shown most recently through the example of the Central American caravan. Using data from The Marshall Project, Minhaj uses facts and humor to demonstrate how U.S. immigration policies are broken. As one of several co-counsel representing immigrant minors in the Flores Settlement Agreement, the Law Foundation helps ensure the standards that govern length of time and conditions in which migrant children can be held at federal detention facilities are enforced. Watch here.

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"UNAIDS Report: 9 Million Are Likely HIV Positive And Don't Know It"- NPR

 This year's theme for World AIDS Day, on December 1, was "Know your HIV status." A new report from UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS) found that about 9.4 million people are likely HIV-positive and don't know it. The UNAIDS also just launched a global partnership to eliminate HIV-related stigma, which continues to be widespread around the world. People living with HIV experience discrimination based on their gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and immigration status. Our Health Program provides services to people living with HIV to ensure that discrimination like this doesn't undermine their rights, including access to health, work, and a stable income. Read here.


RACE EQUITY SPOTLIGHT

As social justice lawyers and advocates, it is critical that we work to understand the complex challenges our clients experience every day. This includes working to understand structural racism and systemic inequalities that pervade through policies, practices, and cultural messages. At the Law Foundation, we challenge these systems and assist clients in navigating them daily. With the adoption of a strategic Race Equity Initiative, we examine these systems with a more critical lens to better meet the needs of our clients and the communities we serve.

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"Seeing White" by Scene on Radio

This podcast takes a critical look at American social and government systems and structures, focusing on the way that whiteness is assumed to be the norm and therefore positioned to benefit. The historical context of the creation of whiteness is critical to understanding how our systems embody and perpetuate racism and discrimination. Listen here.

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“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

As a New York Times Bestseller and inspiration for a film released in October by the same name, The Hate U Give is a novel written for young adults with a message that anyone can learn from. After Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black youth, witnesses a police officer murder her unarmed friend, she processes the trauma and turns to activism. From 12-year-old Tamir Rice to 18-year-old Michael Brown, police brutality is a reality for many children and teens of color. Thomas, the author, writes a powerful take on the difficulties facing young African Americans growing up in the United States. Read a review here.

"So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo

Race and racism can be difficult topics to talk about if they're not part of someone's daily life experience, but this book is for everyone. Oluo takes an accessible and approachable avenue to address the most sensitive and charged issues in the United States regarding racial disparities and oppression by being straightforward and funny. From white privilege to police brutality, this New York Times bestseller breaks down the systems of power, how they work to perpetuate and uphold racial oppression, and how each of us can do our part to help dismantle them. Read this review from the National Book Review.


We really hope you enjoyed the recommendations from our board, attorneys, staff, and volunteers! To create a more equitable community and society, we all must do our part to stay informed and engaged. We also hope that you will take this moment as an opportunity to become involved with the Law Foundation and its mission to increase access to justice by providing free legal services to low-income and underrepresented people and families.

Law Foundation's Favorites of 2018 – Children & Youth

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The Law Foundation's Favorites of 2018 wraps up this week with our favorites related to Children & Youth. You can help us continue to use the law as a tool for change by making a gift to the Law Foundation today. Your end-of-year support is greatly appreciated and crucial to achieving our mission of increasing access to justice to our most vulnerable communities in Silicon Valley.

Learn more about the issues children and youth in our community face by checking out the list below. Also, click here to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest updates from the Law Foundation straight to your inbox (including lists like these)!


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"Congratulations, You're On Your Own: Life After Foster Care" - Documentary

In this documentary, you'll follow a group of young adults as they tell their stories about navigating foster care and the hardships they face as they transition out of the system. When young people "age out" of the foster care system (they reach 21-years-old, the maximum age requirement needed for their caregiver to receive financial support), they are often forced to leave their guardian's home and figure out life on their own. These real-life stories remind us of our own clients who face the same hardships - nearly every foster care youth in Santa Clara County is assigned a Law Foundation attorney and we work tirelessly to ensure their safety and security. Watch here.

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ACLU "On Liberty" Podcast about School Discipline

The school-to-prison pipeline severely affects students who are facing increased police presence at school and severe punishments for routine misbehavior that can result in arrest and criminal charges - and students of color are disproportionately impacted. In this podcast, the ACLU discusses the pipeline and what it means for our children. As part of the Law Foundation's education rights work, we assist students when they or their parents feel they are mistreated at school or are not receiving adequate resources to succeed. Listen here.

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"Foster Care's Burn Book on Me" by Noel Anaya

Former foster youth Noel Anaya was placed in foster care when he was one-year-old. In this article, Anaya tells his emotional, empowering story as he obtains his foster care court records - 10 binders of paperwork detailing his life in the system. For foster youth, obtaining their court records can be an enlightening and critical step when moving into adulthood. Anaya is also working on a documentary about teens in the system and his own experience (keep an eye out for Law Foundation attorney Ben Ebert!). Watch the trailer here.

RACE EQUITY SPOTLIGHT

As social justice lawyers and advocates, it is critical that we work to understand the complex challenges our clients experience every day. This includes working to understand structural racism and systemic inequalities that pervade through policies, practices, and cultural messages. At the Law Foundation, we challenge these systems and assist clients in navigating them daily. With the adoption of a strategic Race Equity Initiative, we examine these systems with a more critical lens to better meet the needs of our clients and the communities we serve.

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“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

As a New York Times Bestseller and inspiration for a film released in October by the same name, The Hate U Give is a novel written for young adults with a message that anyone can learn from. After Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black youth, witnesses a police officer murder her unarmed friend, she processes the trauma and turns to activism. From 12-year-old Tamir Rice to 18-year-old Michael Brown, police brutality is a reality for many children and teens of color. Thomas, the author, writes a powerful take on the difficulties facing young African Americans growing up in the United States. Read a review here.


We really hope you enjoyed the recommendations from our board, attorneys, staff, and volunteers! To create a more equitable community and society, we all must do our part to stay informed and engaged. We also hope that you will take this moment as an opportunity to become involved with the Law Foundation and its mission to increase access to justice by providing free legal services to low-income and underrepresented people and families.

Law Foundation's Favorites of 2018 — Health

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The Law Foundation's "Favorites of 2018" continues this week with our health-related favorites. You can help us continue to use the law as a tool for change by making a gift to the Law Foundation today. Your end-of-year support is greatly appreciated and will help increase access to justice for our most vulnerable communities in Silicon Valley.

Learn more about the health-related issues affecting our clients and community by checking out the list below. Also, click here to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest updates from the Law Foundation straight to your inbox (including lists like these)!


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55 Steps

Based on a true story, this film explores an uphill legal fight for a patient's rights that led to Riese v. St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Care Center. In this case, brought in the name of Eleanor Riese by the California ACLU, the California State Court of Appeals declared that patients in involuntary mental health treatment have the right to exercise informed consent in most cases regarding the use of antipsychotic drugs. This case still governs the hearings conducted by the Law Foundation's Patients' Rights Unit and established a legal standard for determining capacity to refuse psychiatric medications that are used nationally and around the world. Featuring an award-winning cast, including Helena Bonham Carter and Hilary Swank, this film tells an inspiring and heartfelt story of friendship and combating mistreatment. Watch here.

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Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act - Immigration Enforcement

 Comedian and host of the Netflix show "Patriot Act," Hasan Minhaj analyzes and contextualizes United States' xenophobic immigration policies by exploring the history of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other issues that contribute to the current anti-immigrant climate, shown most recently through the example of the Central American caravan. Using data from The Marshall Project, Minhaj uses facts and humor to demonstrate how U.S. immigration policies are broken. As one of several co-counsel representing immigrant minors in the Flores Settlement Agreement, the Law Foundation helps ensure the standards that govern length of time and conditions in which migrant children can be held at federal detention facilities are enforced. Watch here.

"UNAIDS Report: 9 Million Are Likely HIV Positive And Don't Know It"- NPR

 This year's theme for World AIDS Day, on December 1, was "Know your HIV status." A new report from UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS) found that about 9.4 million people are likely HIV-positive and don't know it. The UNAIDS also just launched a global partnership to eliminate HIV-related stigma, which continues to be widespread around the world. People living with HIV experience discrimination based on their gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and immigration status. Our Health Program provides services to people living with HIV to ensure that discrimination like this doesn't undermine their rights, including access to health, work, and a stable income. Read here.

RACE EQUITY SPOTLIGHT

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"So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo

Race and racism can be difficult topics to talk about if they're not part of someone's daily life experience, but this book is for everyone. Oluo takes an accessible and approachable avenue to address the most sensitive and charged issues in the United States regarding racial disparities and oppression by being straightforward and funny. From white privilege to police brutality, this New York Times bestseller breaks down the systems of power, how they work to perpetuate and uphold racial oppression, and how each of us can do our part to help dismantle them. Read this review from the National Book Review.

San Jose City Council Supports Ordinance Limiting Section 8 Housing Discrimination

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On Tuesday, December 11, San Jose City Council voted to support a number of tenant protections that will improve the lives of low-income and working-class families in their search for affordable housing. The Law Foundation Housing Team and attorneys have been diligently following these issues and advocating strongly on behalf of our most vulnerable communities. A number of our attorneys represented the Law Foundation at the City Council meeting and spoke in support of the following protections that passed:

  1. Prohibiting Source of Income Discrimination – Direct San Jose Housing Department Staff to bring back an ordinance preventing landlords from refusing to accept subsidies, such as Section 8 vouchers. Read more.

  2. Commercial Linkage Fee - This would require a study related to what fees are viable on commercial development that could be used for affordable housing.

  3. Added protections to the Tenant Protection Ordinance that include protections for domestic violence survivors, requiring notices about rent assistance, requiring postings related to immigration status, and allowing a person not convicted of a crime to move back in with family.

SJ Needs Housing Protections Against Income-Based Discrimination

San Jose is one of the most competitive housing markets in the U.S., which makes it difficult for families and individuals struggling to make ends meet to find safe and affordable housing. One way that low-income families find housing is through voucher program, such as the Section 8 program, where low-income tenants pay roughly 30 percent of their income toward rent and the remaining is paid by a government agency. The ultimate goal is to eliminate concentrations of poverty and provide low-income households with access to higher opportunity areas.

The voucher program helps families and individuals by offering a method of upward mobility that has been suppressed historically by racist housing policies and works to undo the damage of segregation. Where a family lives greatly determines their quality of life. Higher-opportunity neighborhoods have better access to nutritious foods, better schools, are more accessible to higher paying jobs, and have access to parks, libraries, and community centers.

The goal of eliminating poverty and creating opportunity can’t be fulfilled if landlords are allowed to discriminate against voucher holders, turning away tenants explicitly based on their source of income. In San Jose, many voucher holders aren't able to find housing. Many landlords flat out refuse to rent to a voucher holder, oftentimes based on stereotypes. By passing an ordinance prohibiting source of income discrimination, San Jose can ensure low-income families can find a place to live and pursue upward mobility.

In Santa Clara County, Section 8 vouchers are the most common form of subsidized housing, with about 17,000 participants. In San Jose specifically, participants are 84 percent people of color, 50 percent live with a disability, and 13 percent are families with children.

On Tuesday, December 11, San Jose City Council is voting on a list of additional tenant protections, including an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on source of income, requiring landlords to consider anyone with a voucher just as they would any other tenant. Landlords would also be prohibited from using advertisements that specifically exclude tenants who have vouchers. Additionally, landlords would not be allowed to impose different terms and conditions on voucher participants, such as asking for higher rent amounts.

While landlords would still be able to consider legitimate reasons for not accepting a tenant, such as credit history or history of evictions, the ordinance would make it so that income-based discrimination is not allowed by law. This would help many families who face rejection after rejection, hung up phone calls from landlords, and missed appointments – all while their living situation remains in limbo.

A number of states have passed Source of Income Discrimination Protections including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Vermont. And cities in California have joined as well with San Francisco, East Palo Alto, Santa Monica, Corte Madera all enacting protections prohibiting discrimination based on source of income. Studies have shown that voucher holders living in communities with source of income ordinances are more likely to find housing.

Law Foundation of Silicon Valley attorneys have been advocating for increased tenant protections, including a source of income anti-discrimination ordinance, because at the core of our work is a belief that safe and affordable housing is a right.  

Law Foundation's Favorites of 2018 — Housing

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Whether it's by reading, listening, or watching, there are many ways to stay informed and engaged with the issues that shape our society. Each week in December, we will be sharing our "Favorites of 2018" with you about each of our focus areas - it's a gift from us to you, for everything you've done to support the Law Foundation this year. These favorites, from our board, attorneys, staff, and volunteers will include podcasts, books, articles, and documentaries, that contextualize the issues our clients and community are facing and highlight why our work is critical in creating a stronger Silicon Valley.  

This holiday season, we're helping families facing eviction, displacement, and uninhabitable housing conditions so they too can enjoy the holidays in a safe and stable home. Learn more about the housing issues affecting our clients and community by checking out the list below.

Our hope is that this list is a starting point that sparks larger conversations with your friends, family, and colleagues, and that it inspires you to be more involved in our community (and with us!).

You can help us by making a gift to the Law Foundation today. All gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. We can't do our work without you. Thank you for your commitment to justice.


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"The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein

The history of residential segregation in the United States is long and disturbing, and the government, at all levels, has created and perpetuated this ongoing segregation that still defines our neighborhoods and communities. As Rothstein writes: "We have created a caste system in this country, with African-Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies. Although most of these policies are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endure." Through a historical analysis, Rothstein makes a case for the United States and its government having a constitutional obligation to remedy segregation in housing. Read the New York Times Review.

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Who Belongs? Podcast - Rent Control

This episode of a podcast by the Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley examines aspects of the housing crisis - skyrocketing rent prices, stagnant wages, housing shortages - and how they connect to homelessness and increased social costs, such as sense of belonging, sense of community and social support, children's academic performance, physical and mental health, environmental health, and air quality. Listen here.

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"Struggle for Black and Latino Mortgage Applicants Suggests Modern-Day Redlining" - PBS

Discrimination based on race has been illegal for 50 years since the passing of the Fair Housing Act. Yet problems like redlining (a discriminatory practice by which banks and insurance companies refuse or limit loans, mortgages, insurance, etc., within specific geographic areas, especially inner-city neighborhoods) persist - in 61 metro areas, people of color are more likely to be denied a conventional mortgage. Watch here.

RACE EQUITY SPOTLIGHT

As social justice lawyers and advocates, it is critical that we work to understand the complex challenges our clients experience every day. This includes working to understand structural racism and systemic inequalities that pervade through policies, practices, and cultural messages. At the Law Foundation, we challenge these systems and assist clients in navigating them daily. With the adoption of a strategic Race Equity Initiative, we examine these systems with a more critical eye to better meet the needs of our clients and the communities we serve.

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"Seeing White" by Scene on Radio

This podcast takes a critical look at American social and government systems and structures, focusing on the way that whiteness is assumed to be the norm and therefore positioned to benefit. The historical context of the creation of whiteness is critical to understanding how our systems embody and perpetuate racism and discrimination. Listen here.


Keep an eye out for these weekly December emails (in the following weeks, we will focus on children & youth and health!) and make a commitment to be engaged by staying informed! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter!

Opinion: Visit with migrant children reveals extent of outrage

By Andrew Cain

Originally published in the Mercury News on July 31, 2018. 

As leaders in legal advocacy for youth and immigrant children, my colleagues and I at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley recently joined fellow lawyers, interpreters, social workers and other volunteers in visiting federal detention centers across the country where migrant children are being detained.

The primary purpose of our visits was to determine whether children being held by the U.S. government after crossing the border had access to the most basic provisions as outlined in the Flores Settlement Agreement, on which the Law Foundation serve as co-counsel.

The decades-old agreement governs the length of time and conditions under which children may be detained, and among other things requires they have access to clean water, are not kept in extreme temperatures, are fed healthy food and have a reasonably comfortable place to sleep.

The basics.

All together volunteers from across the country visited with and interviewed more than 200 migrant parents and their children.

What we found was shameful.

One 5-year-old girl who was covered in dirt and dust following a long walk through the desert wasn’t allowed to shower for six days.

A 15-year-old girl apprehended in late June said that there were 18 women and three mattresses in the overcrowded room were she was held at a center in Imperial, Calif.

At a facility in Tucson, each person was allotted one aluminum blanket. Children and their parents reported that they were often too cold to sleep at night.

And others reported being forced to use dirty toilets that were overflowing with waste.

Children seek refuge in the United States for many reasons. Some are fleeing from war. Others are trying to avoid gangs and violence. And others are escaping from abuse.

Whatever the circumstances, can you imagine coming to the United States for the first time as a child, expecting to finally arrive in a safe place, a place your parents or other trusted adults promised you wouldn’t be scared anymore, only to be thrown in a cold, hard cell and deprived of water and food?

Is this how we now treat children in the United States?

We say no.

And on Friday, U.S. Judge District Judge Dolly Gee honored our request for the appointment of an independent monitor to provide an objective assessment of the conditions at federal detention centers.

Until now, the Flores agreement allowed for a government-appointed monitor to inspect the facilities and file a report with the court to ensure the conditions are being met.

However, we questioned how we could trust a monitor appointed by the very same government that has demonstrated through its policies and practices that it does not care about the basic human rights of migrant children.

In order to ensure that children are treated with “dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors” as the Flores agreement states, we appealed to the court to appoint someone who is independent.

Someone who won’t close their ears to the cries of a child who is hungry.

Someone who understands that children need baths.

Someone who knows that every child deserves a warm blanket and a safe and comfortable place to lay their head.

We are grateful to Judge Gee for her decision, and we will remain vigilant in fighting injustices against migrant children and their families in the court of law.

Because this is not how we treat children in the United States. Because we say no.

Andrew Cain is the directing attorney of Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, a program of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley.

Andrew's original piece can be found here

Law Foundation Gives Low-income Residents Voice in Google Development

Last year San Jose City entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Google to build a new campus in the city's downtown corridor. The development is expected to create 6 million to 8 million square feet of office space that will house at least 20,000 workers. 

For low-income people living in and around San Jose, displacement is all but guaranteed unless preventive measures are put into place. 

Earlier this year, San Jose City Council organized the Station Area Advisory Group, comprised of nearly 40 companies, neighborhood associations, individuals and non-profit organizations tasked with gathering and processing community input on the project, as well as other development in the Diridon Station Area.

As the only legal services provider invited to join the group, the Law Foundation is advocating for measures aimed at protecting low-income residents.

"After learning of Google's plans, we knew how important it was for the Law Foundation to advocate for equitable development in the Diridon corridor, meaning development where everyone has access to this incredible opportunity and no one is displaced," said Supervising Attorney Nadia Aziz.

"Most clients arrive at our office after they've received an eviction notice because their landlord is looking to cash-in on the housing boom. We are advocating to prevent the notice from being issued in the first place."

As part of the SAAG, the Law Foundation has advocated for solutions to the displacement crisis including advocating for affordable housing funding, a set-aside for affordable housing units, stronger tenant protections, and funding for relocation, emergency assistance and legal assistance for people who are displaced.

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Q&A with Law Foundation Senior Attorney Kate Manning, Esq.

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Kate Manning has worked for the Law Foundation since 2007. She has experience representing children in family and probate court as well as individuals with physical and mental health disabilities. More recently, Kate's work has focused on securing residency for immigrant children who have crossed the U.S. border unaccompanied and who were abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents.

Kate received her undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara and attended law school at City University of New York.

Why did you become a legal aid lawyer? 

I was living in New York City after college and volunteering with CASA as a court-appointed special advocate. My role was to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. At the time I wanted to be a social worker. The experience made me realize how important legal aid lawyers are to foster youth and children involved in the child welfare system. The lawyers gave these kids a voice, and it became very clear to me that I wanted to be that voice.

What is most meaningful to you about this work? 

Knowing we are helping kids feel safe. Some of the children I work with have been through such terrible things. They've been very badly abused by family or attacked by gang members. Whether we are giving them an opportunity to live permanently with a stable family member locally or as a legal immigrant in the U.S., we are providing them with a sense of safety they haven't experienced before. I feel really good about that.

What do you see as the greatest strength of the Law Foundation? 

To be able to provide legal services for free to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to access legal services at all. It sounds so simple, but legal aid has the power to transform lives.

What TV shows are you binge-watching these days? 

Stranger Things and Peaky Blinders

What do you enjoy doing when you're not working? 

When I'm not working I'm usually driving my kids around. Otherwise I enjoy hanging out with my kids at the pool, hiking, backpacking and biking.

Law Foundation of Silicon Valley Applauds Court's Decision to Uphold Flores Settlement Agreement

(SAN JOSE, Calif.) – The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley today issued the following statement from CEO Alison Brunner applauding the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee to uphold the Flores Settlement Agreement and protect the rights of immigrant children and their families.

“As co-counsel in the Flores litigation, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley applauds the decision by Judge Gee to uphold the settlement agreement and deny the Trump administration’s request to detain children and families in unlicensed facilities for the duration of their immigration proceedings, which in most cases will be years.

“Our work with immigrant children gives us an important perspective into the current family separation crisis at the border, and we share the outrage of many in our community about immigration policies that separate children from their families or place them in detention facilities.

 “As outlined in the Flores Settlement Agreement children should be treated with ‘dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.’

 “The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley will continue to fight for the release of immigrant children and families into the community where they can seek protection of their rights.”

Law Foundation Responds to Family Detention

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Law Foundation Co-Counsel in Flores Class Action Litigation

On Friday evening, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and co-counsel asked the federal court to uphold the terms of the 20 year-old Flores class action settlement and deny the Administration’s request to detain families in unlicensed facilities for the duration of their immigration proceedings, which in most cases will be years. The ACLU and the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco all filed amicus briefs in support of our efforts.

As co-counsel in the Flores litigation, the Law Foundation is a leading legal voice for the rights of immigrant families and children. Our work with immigrant children, gives us an important perspective into the current family separation crisis at our border. We share the outrage of many in our community about current immigration policies that separate children from their families or place them in detention facilities and we are currently fighting this injustice through litigation.

As outlined in the Flores settlement agreement, children should be treated with “dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.” As legal advocates for children for over 30 years, we recognize the detrimental impact on children of being separated from their families, especially in the context of an already traumatic situation such as transnational migration. Imprisoning children in unlicensed family detention for an indefinite period of time is not the answer and it is in violation of the law. The Law Foundation is fighting for the release of immigrant children and families into the community where they can seek protection of their rights.

A team of our attorneys, paralegals, and social workers will be traveling to speak with children who are being held in detention facilities in upcoming weeks to ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are protected. We will also continue to provide free and confidential legal and social work services to immigrant youth in Santa Clara County, including children who have been forcibly separated and are in dire need of services and mental health support until they can safely reunify with family. We will keep you updated on this important work.

The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley advances the rights of underrepresented families and children, specifically in the areas of children’s rights, housing advocacy, and access to mental health services. To support the work of the Law Foundation, click here.

Thank you for standing with us in justice for all.

Thank You!

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Everyone should be part of the Silicon Valley success story --- and you're making that happen. Thank you for another amazing Celebration of Justice! You're changing lives and ensuring a stronger, more inclusive future for our entire community.

What you do matters. Last night, we began the evening with a short 2-minute video to show just how each individual action can truly make a difference. Missed it? It's worth a quick watch.
Thank you for answering the call and giving generously at our Celebration of Justice. If you didn't get the chance to make a gift last night, it's not too late! You can still make a tax-deductible contribution in support of access to justice. 

Thanks again for making our night and, most of all, for your inspiring generosity! 

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Helping More Families Through Pro Bono

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When a young child faced the possibility of losing the only real home he'd ever known, our pro bono volunteer Yilan Bryant, from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP stepped in with help and expertise from Law Foundation attorneys.

Daniel* lived a happy and secure life with his grandmother, Charlotte*, who began taking care of him when his biological parents became absent while he was an infant. However, Daniel's safe and peaceful life was jeopardized when his biological parents, whose lives were still not very stable, threatened to take Daniel away from his home. Fearing losing her grandson to an unstable living situation and overwhelmed with the complicated legal process of guardianship, Charlotte turned to the Law Foundation.

Thanks to our team and pro bono attorney, Yilan, Daniel's grandmother was able to navigate a complicated legal system to ensure that Daniel's best interests were protected.
"It was immensely gratifying to help my client navigate the legal process and paperwork and ultimately get to a result that was in the best interest of the child. My client was able to secure guardianship of her grandson, receiving both temporary and general guardianship for the child. To help my client receive legal assurance that her grandchild will grow up in the security and comfort of her care gave me a great deal of satisfaction, both personally and professionally.  I look forward to handling additional family law matters." says Yilan, who succeeded in safeguarding Daniel's stable home life with his grandmother. 

We're grateful for our pro bono volunteers who allow us to serve even more families and individuals each year.

*Name changed to protect identity.

San Jose's New Google Development Advisory Group

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Recently, the Law Foundation, along with 38 other organizations, was appointed to the newly created Station Area Advisory Group (SAAG) formed by San Jose City Council to provide input on the Google development project near the Diridon Station. The SAAG has representation from various parts of our community, including the business sector, school districts, neighborhood associations, and community groups.

The Law Foundation hopes our participation will lead to outcomes that prevent the displacement of low-income communities in San Jose from the place they call home. We will continue to be a leader in advocating for an inclusive Silicon Valley and to bring front and center the crisis of unmanaged gentrification and the displacement of low-income families in Silicon Valley.