Nonprofit Law Center Opens New Branch to Aid Residents

Additional help for Eastside residents battling housing evictions and consumer fraud is being provided at a new branch office of the nonprofit Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice.

The East Los Angeles office, located in the Roybal Comprehensive Health Center at 245 S. Fetterly Ave., will be funded for the next two years by a grant from the Edward R. Roybal Foundation.

Attorneys will pursue cases that do not involve substantial amounts of money but are important to the individuals involved, said consumer law attorney Hakhamanesh Mortezaie.

"We're here to do that work," he said.

Mortezaie is one of four attorneys working on cases involving consumer law, government benefits, and housing and family law. They will split time between the Roybal site and the main office at 2606 E. 1st St. in Boyle Heights.

The nonprofit organization handles about 350 cases a year and expects that number to grow to more than 450. Most of the cases involve advice and counsel, said Executive Director Luis Antonio De La Rosa. However, lawyers from the center will go to court if necessary, he said.

The Eastside has a high number of fraud cases, De La Rosa said, because of its high number of immigrants. The language barrier and their lack of knowledge about available legal services places them at risk for being swindled, said De La Rosa, who specializes in housing issues.

"This organization is made up of individuals who really care," said Roybal, a former congressman who represented the Eastside from 1963 to 1992. "The community as a whole should be thankful that there is an organization of this type."

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