Policing Our Way Out of Homelessness? (2007)
In 2007, students in the Fact Investigation Clinic focused on the Skid Row area of Los Angeles, which has the greatest concentration of chronically homeless people in the U.S. We examined County policies regarding the treatment of persons with mental disabilities in the General Relief (welfare) system, and the County's efforts to move people from county welfare (which provides only $221 per month) to federal SSI disability benefits (which provide $856 per month). We also examined City policy in providing shelter and housing, as well as the consequences of an intensive police effort on Skid Row that began in September 2007. Preliminary findings of our investigation were presented to Mayor Villaraigosa and his top aides, and to LAPD Chief Bratton and his command staff. On the first year anniversary of the policing effort, we publicly released our report addressing the City's efforts in Skid Row. The report has attracted a good deal of attention and has helped to contribute some significant positive efforts to provide supportive housing rather than jail cells for homeless people with significant mental disabilities.
Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers in Los Angeles (2006)
In the first iteration of the Fact Investigation Clinic in 2006, UCLA Law Students partnered with graduate student researchers in the School of Public Affairs to produce an in-depth look at the circumstances of taxi drivers in Los Angeles, and now the regulation of the taxi industry contributes to the considerable problems experienced by drivers: extremely long working hours for little pay and serious health problems. The report was both publicized and cited in motions adopted by the Los Angeles City Council requiring the responsible City officials to respond to the problems that were identified.