Landlord-Tenant Clinic Helps Foster Care Youth Staff Understand the Law

“These presentations give the students and myself an opportunity to hear the ‘concerns on the street’ about Landlord Tenant issues,” comments USD’s Landlord-Tenant Legal Clinic Law Clerk Elaine Giesbrecht of a recent community outreach event. “We are able to gain a new perspective on what matters to the clients, and we are also exposed to different legal questions that don’t always come up in the day-to-day course of business.”

(Left to right) Legal Interns Mary Alfred and Elton Stolze, Law Clerk Elaine Giesbrecht, and Supervising Attorney Allen Gruber presenting about Section 8 subsidized housing.

(Left to right) Legal Interns Mary Alfred and Elton Stolze, Law Clerk Elaine Giesbrecht, and Supervising Attorney Allen Gruber presenting about Section 8 subsidized housing.

This informational presentation by USD’s Landlord Tenant Clinic was provided on November 13, 2013 to Second Chance’s transitional housing program staff. With the assistance of Law Clerk Elaine Giesbrecht and the clinic’s Supervising Attorney Allen Gruber, Legal Interns Elton Stolze and Mary Alfred presented various topics including illegal evictions (what the landlord is not allowed to evict for), an overview of how evictions (unlawful detainers) work, service animal rules, types of notice needed to end a tenancy, and Section 8 subsidized housing.

“As the Law Clerk, I coordinated with Patty O’Deane, our Outreach Coordinator, and Ricky Valdez from the Second Chance Program,” explains Giesbrecht.” “I assisted the students in making sure they understood their topics, and I also prepared a segment of my own to present. This was a great experience to prepare for my career because, as an attorney, I’ll frequently be required to present complex legal concepts in ways that can be easily understood by the average person. This presentation allowed me to develop the skill of boiling down such information which will be helpful for client meetings, in house counsel presentations, or addressing a jury in court.”

(Left to right) Legal Interns Mary Alfred and Elton Stolze, Law Clerk Elaine Giesbrecht, and Supervising Attorney Allen Gruber presenting about Section 8 subsidized housing.

Supervising Attorney Allen Gruber answering questions regarding the eviction process.

“The attendees were staff members at the Second Chance Program, which provides transitional housing for youth aging out of foster care,” describes Law Clerk Elaine Giesbrecht. “Their questions revolved around the eviction process, in particular how to maintain a ‘no-tolerance’ policy for drug abuse and other illegal activities, while still protecting the tenants’ rights and correctly following the law.”

Second Chance is a longstanding community partner of the USD Legal Clinics. Each semester legal interns from the various clinics provide information presentations on topics of interest and need to Second Chance’s staff and program participants. The program offers housing for up to two years and, as the county funds the program, rent is subsidized. While in the program participants are expected to maintain full time productivity, participate in program activities, adhere to program policies and pay a graduated rent. The goal is to prepare youth for self-sufficiency when they exit the program after two years. For more information about Second Chance, visit the website.

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