How We Converted to a Cooperative—and How You Can, Too

By Rachel Gertz, Yes! Magazine

Excerpt: If you’re converting into a coop, you’ll need to valuate the company, then sell it to the workers. This can be a complicated process depending on a ton of factors (especially if the current owners will continue on as employees of the new cooperative). So you will need to urge everyone, including your lawyer, accountant, and the workers, to make a fair conversion plan for everyone. The Sustainable Economies Law Center’s “Legal Guide to Cooperative Conversions” is a great place to start.

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Climate Adaptation: The Basics

By: by Vrinda Manglik, TheKneeDeep Times 

 

Excerpt:

"We believe that transforming the way we relate to and made decisions with land is at the heart of a just transition away from an extractive economy and toward a more just and life-affirming one."-Chris Tittle, Sustainable Economies Law Center

 

Read full article here.

(Originally published March 17, 2022.)

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Why has this housing for homeless Oaklanders been sitting empty for months?

By: Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News

From our friends at Poor Magazine

Excerpt:

“We have people on the street in this city, and they still refuse to open four beautiful, multi-family townhouses,” said Gray-Garcia, who goes by “Tiny.” Gray-Garcia used to be homeless herself. She planned to sleep in a tent in Frank Ogawa Plaza until the city grants the occupancy permit, but ended up leaving Tuesday night after the police showed up.

Read full article here.

(Originally published March 2, 2022.)

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U.S. diversity push for lawyers, agents to tackle housing crisis

By: Carey L. Biron, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Excerpt:

Over the next five years, Hernandez and her family went through a period of unstable housing, including nearly three years squatting. Then, last year, the landlord of the multi-unit house they were living in tried to push tenants out.

As Hernandez researched ways to fight back, she found the Radical Real Estate Law School, a new initiative helping people become housing lawyers by having them apprentice with practicing attorneys and eventually take the bar exam, bypassing traditional, expensive law programs.

Started by the nonprofit Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) last year, the initiative aims to create lawyers versed in nontraditional tools such as land trusts and cooperatives to help address the country's affordable housing crisis.

Read full article here.

(Originally published December 14, 2021.)

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Oaxxanda: An Afro-Futuristic Vision for East Oakland

By: Mwende Hinojosa, Nonprofit Quarterly

Excerpt:

Tired of ongoing black disenfranchisement and gentrification, this community group came together in the spirit of Black and Brown power. They were made up of members from groups that were already trying to make an impact in Deep East Oakland—Repaired NationsBlack Cultural ZoneThe Deep Grocery Coop, Feed the Village, Sustainable Economies Law Center—as well as unaffiliated community members who were artists, healers, organizers, activists, and entrepreneurs. At the tail end of a second Black out-migration from the Bay, the group felt the name of their collective needed to send a clear message to their families, neighbors, and future collective members: Oaxxanda.

Read full article here.

(Originally published November 11, 2021.)

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How community control of housing and land can help solve the housing crisis

By: Jessica Kutz , High Country News

Excerpt:

"One such organization is the Sustainable Economies Law Center, based in Oakland, California. The nonprofit has been around for more than a decade, providing legal tools to worker and housing cooperatives in the region, among other initiatives. 

High Country News recently spoke with Chris Tittle, the center’s director of land and housing justice, and Dorian Payán, co-director of the Radical Real Estate Law School, about their work, and about the possible housing and land futures that can exist under these alternative models."

Read full article here.

(Originally published October 5, 2021.)

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Nonprofit run by homeless people says it was unfairly taxed for trying to build housing

by Natalie Orenstein, The Oaklandside

Our inspiring friends at Homefulness/POOR Magazine have encountered every legal barrier imaginable as they work to build housing for Oakland's unhoused community. The Law Center has partnered with them to address the latest

Read full article here.

(Originally published October 20, 2021.)

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Comprehensive Planning Sucks. These Oaklanders Want to Make It Better.

By: OSCAR PERRY ABELLO, Next City

Excerpt: “We’re trying to hold our ground by not defining the entire process up front or acting like it’s our job to do that,” says Janelle Orsi, staff attorney and co-founder at the Sustainable Economies Law Center, which helped convene the collective starting in May. “What we’re defining instead is a participatory process we’re going to facilitate, giving a lot of examples on how it might play out. We’re treating the budget more like a menu that we could all order off of, as opposed to a budget of exactly what we’re going to do.”

Read full article here.

(Originally published August 24, 2021.)

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Grandmas4Housing: How a Tenant-Led Community Land Trust Came to Be

By: Mwende Hinojosa and Jocelyn Foreman, Nonprofit Quarterly

Excerpt: My mother had just died, and I was being retraumatized by seeing the foreclosure notices. Christine [Hernandez of Sustainable Economies Law Center] was telling me I had more options than cash for keys. But then I realized I had to tell people my situation and be naked. I had to know my rights and stand in my power.

Read full article here.

(Originally published August 18, 2021.)

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Oakland: Much-needed housing held up over three parking spots

By: By Marisa Kendall, East Bay Times

Excerpt: “I’m sure they felt really hopeful that within a short period of time they’d be able to do great things with this land,” said Janelle Orsi, co-founder of Sustainable Economies Law Center, which has been helping Poor Magazine with the project. “I don’t think they ever would have imagined they’d hit so many barriers. And what it shows is that our laws and city procedures are not set up to support the groups that are supporting our community and creating the necessary housing.”

Read full article here.

(Originally published July 1, 2021.)

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