Know Your Rights
The Know Your Rights is a program of workshops that discusses tenants rights, raises awareness of available resources and case management. Each workshop is 60-90 minutes; the goal is to inform attendants what they can do and how to do it, in terms of finding and defending stable housing. They are available in a variety of languages to reach as many communities as possible.
In particular, Know Your Rights enables self-advocacy. Workshops about tenants rights cover new relevant laws, information about rental agreements, harassment, responsibilities, and more, and local rent increases. These workshops help residents understand the basics of San Diego tenancy, and be aware of the appropriate action if something such as a rent increase or policy is being unfairly forced upon them.
The resources that Know Your Rights draws attention to help resolve issues of necessary assistance, and in some cases, even issues of unfair treatment. Because of cultural and linguistic differences, rental vouchers and programs like rental assistance for Iraqi refugees can be inaccessible for SDRCC communities. One program in particular that Know Your Rights highlights is Section 8, a government subsidy program for rental payments. Tenants can qualify based on income to pay reduced rent (the government will pay a portion). Programs like this are critical for refugees struggling to find jobs or homes with manageable rental payments, but often go unnoticed. Know Your Rights workshops make such programs visible and accessible.
Case management provides consultation and advocacy outside of workshops. The SDRCC has a paralegal available to answer questions, offer advice, and refer clients to other legal services. This helps both with immediate assistance, and a broader view of the legal resources available to support refugees. Case management can apply to anything from breaking down rental agreement basics to eviction lawsuits against unjust landlords.