Dear Centro Legal Community,
Throughout the last couple of years we have been witnesses to an era filled with unexpected, difficult, and complex challenges. With new crises emerging everyday, it is necessary that we have our best and greatest minds steering the helm of our ship, guiding us effortlessly through the turbulent waters that often arise from our unfair and problematic legal system.
This past summer our Tenants’ Rights practice continued to work tirelessly to advocate for Alameda County’s eviction moratorium (the strongest in the country) and expanded Centro Legal’s anti-displacement work into Contra Costa County. When Alameda county needed help during the COVID-19 pandemic, our practice met their call and distributed over $81,000,000 of emergency rental assistance. At the same time last year, we also continued to serve over 1,000 clients and were able to provide 39 “Know Your Rights Presentations” to 734 community members. At the helm of this ship, our amazing duo of Co-Interim Directing Attorneys, Henrissa Bassey and Samantha Beckett.
I am excited to announce that they will now be stepping into the permanent role of Co-Directing Attorneys!
“We are excited to co-lead the Tenants’ Rights team during a critical moment for tenants’ rights. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted vast inequities in our communities and how close so many of our neighbors — particularly those who identify as low-income, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or as having a disability — are to crisis without greater support and protections. The past few years forced our Tenants’ Rights team to be agile and creative to meet community needs and contribute to efforts to build community power. We are proud to have secured funding to sustain the expansion of our advocacy into Contra Costa County while we continue to work alongside Alameda County tenants to prevent evictions, increase community capacity to advocate for tenants’ rights, and fight for safe and affordable housing.
“With the end of the Alameda County moratorium expected in coming months, we anticipate that the need for our services will reach unprecedented levels. We look forward to continuing to respond to the eviction crisis with agility and creativity, while remaining grounded in our values of client-centered and community-led advocacy, racial and social justice, holistic eviction defense, and both staff and community wellness to combat displacement and fight for safe, stable, and affordable housing for all.”
-Henrissa and Sam
At Centro Legal we are proud of our strong leaders who push our organization to find solutions to intricate issues, understand our limitations and collaborate frequently with community partners, and who above all, always strive to raise the voices of our communities’ most marginalized members.
I could not be more happy to have these two great attorneys spearheading and guiding our Tenants’ Rights program into this next year. I have full confidence that under their leadership we will continue to reach new heights and find success advocating and learning alongside our community.