Monday, June 20, 2011

One for the GA good guys

Turns out it's still possible to win a California case defending the right to subsistence benefits. It takes a bad enough problem, yes, but just go read this state appellate decision, Cleary v. County of Alameda. It throws out a deeply godawful plan developed by the General Assistance (GA) program of Alameda County (i.e. Oakland and vicinity): refusing to pay landlords for destitute people's housing unless the landlords coughed up a Social Security Number or federal taxpayer ID number. Who might of course be subletters or with papers not in order or just plain lovers of privacy...

You'd think they wanted to force informal landlords to close their doors to county-supported tenants. As opposed to, frexample, formally subsidized nonprofit-run rez hotels with security guards on the desks and monthly room inspections on the pretext of "pest control"... your basic minimum-security supervision sites... Well, anyway, this time they lost.

The opinion spells out a good chunk of what life can be like for single adults who depend on the county for basics. Or rather Boona Cheema, premiere East Bay homeless-rights fighter, spelled it out in a declaration that the opinion quotes at length. Eh, go read it if you're feeling too cheerful.

Well, cheers to the winners: the Public Interest Law Project, BayLegal, some good big-firm volunteers, some good nonprofit amici, Ms. Cheema & Co., and a lot of people who now get somewhere to sleep.

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