RBGG, Public Counsel, and the Public Interest Law Project represent Plaintiff Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action) in a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles over illegal practices which gave individual City Councilmembers the power to decide if, whether, and where supportive and affordable housing projects are built in the City. For years, advocates complained that the City’s use of Letters of Acknowledgement and Support violates fair housing laws and impedes housing projects that our community desperately needs. Prior to filing our lawsuit, the City ignored our demands to stop these practices.
As a direct result of this litigation, the City has completely and permanently eliminated all such letter requirements. The City’s actions go well beyond the requirements of last year’s state Assembly Bill 829, which prohibits state assistance for housing developments that are subject to such letter requirements. The City has removed the letter requirements from all of its affordable and low income housing loan programs that use state as well as local funding, including the Affordable Housing Managed Pipeline and the Proposition HHH programs. As a result, individual City Councilmembers can no longer utilize a pocket veto to unilaterally block, delay or condition housing projects for any or no reason at all. Nor can they use this practice to insert additional discriminatory barriers to projects, such as requiring the support of neighborhood councils.
Satisfied that the removal of these barriers largely accomplished the goals of its lawsuit, ACCE Action sought a briefing schedule for a fees petition and dismissal of the action. The court has retained jurisdiction to allow ACCE Action to seek an award of attorneys’ fees.
Jeffrey Bornstein, Van Swearingen, and Sanford Jay Rosen were the RBGG attorneys, along with attorneys from Public Counsel and the Public Interest Law Project, who represented ACCE Action on this matter.