Tori Larson

  • Hosted by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Sponsored by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Tori provided accessible and culturally competent legal services to the Bay Area’s homeless population through direct services, local policy advocacy to decriminalize homelessness, and community partnerships.

There is a homelessness crisis in the Bay Area: in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, there are over 13,000 unhoused individuals. Instead of providing solutions that uphold the rights of people experiencing homelessness, cities throughout the Bay have created policies that criminalize the very act of being homeless, thus exacerbating the crisis. Homeless communities face numerous legal issues, such as losing their property in forced encampment evictions or having their vehicles towed away. Yet there are no accessible legal services available to them, especially to unsheltered homeless individuals.

Tori sees homelessness as the intersection of classism, racism, ableism, homophobia, and substance use issues, which all currently plague the United States. Firmly believing that all people experiencing homelessness deserve justice, she interned with a number of legal organizations in the Bay Area that provide legal services to homeless communities prior to her Fellowship.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Tori:

  • Filed dozens of administrative claims and small claims petitions against the City of San Francisco on behalf of homeless individuals who lost all of their property in unlawful encampment sweeps or had their vehicles towed for reasons related to their poverty
  • Provided holistic and accessible legal advice and referrals to 220 clients through the GLIDE Unconditional Legal Clinic and mobile legal services at encampments throughout the Bay Area
  • Engaged in two impact litigation cases – Sanchez v. Caltrans and Coalition on Homelessness v. San Francisco ¬¬– as part of ongoing LCCR litigation
  • Established meaningful relationships with local advocacy groups that support unhoused communities
  • Responded quickly to the COVID-19 public health emergency through advocacy around ending encampment sweeps and poverty tows and opening hotels for non-congregate shelter during the crisis

Next Steps

Tori will join the Homeless Action Center as a Staff Attorney in September 2021, where she will provide public benefits advocacy to disabled individuals in Alameda County.

Media

TechCrunch Disavows Event Company That Cleared Homeless From Outside Disrupt Conference

In Bay Area, police citations hit Black, Latinx, unhoused residents hardest

Fight over ‘poverty tows’ heats up

Advocates say resumption of 'poverty tows' in San Francisco unfairly targets unhoused

Meet Other Fellows Like Tori

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Andrew Neuhauser

Host: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation

Sara Simon Tompkins

Host: National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

Sponsor: Individual Donors, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Vallen Solomon

Host: King County Bar Association's Housing Justice Project

Sponsor: Costco Wholesale, The Raikes Foundation

Current Fellow

Michael Deemer

Host: Ohio State Legal Services Association

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation