As an integral part of one of the nation’s most ambitious experiments in Civil Gideon—which calls for a right to counsel in civil cases where basic human needs are at stake—Neighborhood Legal Services has for many years been at the forefront of advocacy efforts aiming to provide access to attorneys for people in danger of losing their housing.The Shriver Project-LA—a collaborative of Southern California legal services organizations led by NLSLA—has significantly widened access to legal services for people facing evictions in Los Angeles’ Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

Now the city council is considering endorsing a program that would establish a right to an attorney in eviction cases across Los Angeles, which is in the midst of the worst housing crisis in the city’s history. NLSLA came out Wednesday to offer its full support of the plan, which would protect the dwindling stock of affordable, rent-stabilized units and keep people from joining the ranks of the city’s growing homeless population.

“We’ve helped more than ten thousand people in the years since the Shriver project began, and we have seen the impact that access to an attorney can have in keeping an individual or family in stable, safe housing,” said NLSLA’s Cassandra Goodman, who oversees the Shriver Project. “But Shriver is limited in its ability to address the overwhelming need in the city, and a right to counsel will significantly expand on the work we began and bring critical legal services to so many people who might otherwise become homeless in the coming years.”

Read coverage of NLSLA’s support here