Target: Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich
Goal: Punish discriminatory landlord who evicted a Latino LGBT health organization from its rightfully leased office space
For many members of LGBT and HIV-positive communities, low-cost health and informational services can easily mean the difference between life and death. Thankfully, grassroots organizations like Bienestar step up to provide urgently-needed services to members of Southern California’s at-risk communities. But the social services organization, which has operated since 1989, recently faced a bout of harsh discrimination when a homophobic landlord forcibly evicted members from their newest location in Van Nuys.
Just two days after Bienestar began offering services at its new location on 14546 Hamlin Street in Van Nuys, California, the building’s landlord demanded that the organization vacate the premises and remove all its belongings. Although Bienestar had done nothing to violate the three-year lease that it had just signed with the property, the landlord insisted that the organization was making inappropriate use of their new space by “bringing disease” into the building. The locks on the office were changed by the afternoon, leaving Bienestar’s sensitive client files sealed away inside their rightfully leased property.
Among other services, Bienestar offers HIV testing and counseling for HIV-positive Latino individuals in Southern California. This landlord’s outrageous response to the services provided by this essential organization belies a deep hatred of the LGBT and HIV-positive communities. Not only was his eviction immoral, but it blatantly violates California law. Such hateful discrimination must not be tolerated within the city limits. Tell the Los Angeles City Attorney to relieve this landlord of his duties and allow Bienestar access to its files and other property that have been wrongfully seized inside the building.
Dear Mr. Trutanich,
Members of Southern California’s Latino LGBT and HIV-positive communities rely on organizations like Bienestar for aid in navigating the many challenges of living as at-risk individuals in an often discriminatory and hateful society. But even social services organizations must face bias and discrimination while trying to assist some of Los Angeles’s neediest residents.
Bienestar was recently evicted from its newest location in Van Nuys after the building’s landlord insisted that the organization was “bringing disease” to the property. While Bienestar provides HIV testing and counseling for positive individuals, there was no indication that any sanitary laws were being broken on the premises. This landlord was solely motivated by hate and bias and should not be allowed to lease property within Los Angeles. I demand that you take action to ensure that Bienestar’s former landlord is punished for the unlawful eviction of this necessary organization.
[Your Name Here]
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