Silicon Valley has grown to be a global change agent, leading the way in technology and innovation. We know that working together to solve our region's most pressing social issues--- poverty, discrimination, child abuse and neglect--- can not only transform Silicon Valley, but the entire world.
We've had an incredible year so far, and you're behind it all. Our annual partners and supporters like you raised crucial funds that are already being used to help people in our community who are facing life-changing legal issues. On the front lines, we are advocating for renters by working to get justice to families being taken advantage of as the cost of living continues to soar.
I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together to make Silicon Valley--- and the world--- a better place for us all.
Your 2016 Housing Champions!
In May the Law Foundation was honored with the Housing Trust Silicon Valley's 2016 Housing Champion Award for the work we do to ensure that everyone in Silicon Valley has safe, fair, and affordable housing. "They're who you want in your corner when you're fighting for affordable housing," the Housing Trust's CEO, Kevin Zwick, said in his remarks during the event.
The explosive growth of Silicon Valley has left some members of our community behind. Many residents are being displaced as the cost of living sky-rockets. At the Law Foundation, we work with people every day who are at risk of becoming homeless due to an unfair eviction. We are also advocating for policy changes that put long-term solutions in place. For example, we have been pushing for stronger protections for renters, and our work is paying off. This spring, San Jose City Council voted on the following measures:
• A 5% limit on annual rent increases for rent-controlled apartments;
• Anti-Retaliation Protection Ordinance to protect tenants from eviction if they ask for improvements or report a code violation;
• Elimination of the debt service pass-through, which limits the costs landlords can pass on to their tenants.
Though these measures are a step in the right direction, they're not enough to safeguard meaningful protections against unfair evictions and displacement. There is strength in numbers; we hope you'll add your voice as we continue to advocate for fair and just treatment for renters in Silicon Valley.
Click here to see our recognition video from the Housing Trust.
Employee Spotlight: Mariel Block
Congratulations are in order for our own Mariel Block who was selected as the Santa Clara County Bar Association's Barrister of the Year for her contributions to the legal profession in both a professional capacity and in pro bono and community activities.
In many parts of Santa Clara County, landlords can legally evict tenants for almost any reason as long as it is not discriminatory; providing legal help in eviction cases is a critical service to our community. Through Mariel's leadership, the Law Foundation's Pro Bono Housing Justice Program, which serves low-income families facing homelessness due to an eviction, has grown extensively--- meaning more families have been able to stay in their homes or have been given adequate time to move with dignity.
Every Friday, Mariel manages the Law Foundation's eviction clinic and trains pro bono attorneys and volunteers who take on eviction cases for on-going representation. In 2015, the clinic provided representation to 373 tenants and their families, a significant increase over previous years. Your ongoing support enables us to have incredible advocates like Mariel on our team. We're proud that her accomplishments were formally recognized by the Santa Clara County Bar Association. Way to go, Mariel!
Your Generosity Broke Another Record!
You really did it this time! A heartfelt thank you goes out to our annual partners and individual donors who gave over $2 million dollars to help us continue to use the law as a tool for change in Silicon Valley. Your investment in the Law Foundation gives us the power to change the lives of families and individuals in dire need of legal help.
Together, we can do so much more for the people in our region who are desperate for a voice in their fight for social justice - families like Sabrina and Margie's, who we introduced to you at the dinner.
Thank you for an unforgettable night!
Be sure to check out our photos and see if you can spot your friends and colleagues.
Preying On The Elderly? Not On Our Watch.
When a loved one has fallen ill and needs care at home, you might place your trust in the hands of strangers, care-givers, to provide assistance for them as you would. But what happens when that trust is shattered?
Ninety-year-old Iris spent her life serving others as a nun. When dementia set in, Iris became the one to rely on others for the help she needed to get through the day. Sadly, when Iris had to spend an extended period of time hospitalized, the care-giving facility where she was staying took advantage of her vulnerability and had her sign over her monthly Social Security income.
Iris' family was shocked and confused when Iris received an eviction notice from her landlord. The care-giving facility had failed to pay the rent on her apartment and Iris was on the verge of losing her home. Our attorney, Denise Miller, fought for Iris and her family by negotiating with the landlord to keep Iris in her apartment and got the care-giving facility to return Iris' funds and place her finances with a trusted family member. Thanks to you, we were able to get justice for Iris and she can now rest easy in her home, where she belongs.