Who We Are
People who are homeless are overwhelmingly poor, disabled, ill and marginalized. The Homeless Action Center (HAC) provides no-cost, barrier-free, culturally competent legal representation that makes it possible for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to access the maze of social safety net programs that provide a pathway to a better life.
Founded in 1990, the Homeless Action Center (HAC) provides free legal assistance with a range of public benefits programs, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medi-Cal, CalWorks, Cal-Fresh (food stamps) General Assistance (GA) and Cash Assistance Programs for Immigrants (CAPI). We also provide informal advice and referrals for non-benefits related legal issues.
Why HAC Is Needed
Our nation’s commitment to helping the less fortunate is well established. A social safety net has existed for years. To give just two examples, Medi-Cal puts medical and mental health treatment within reach. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides modest, but stable, monthly cash support. It pays the equivalent of less than $5.65 per hour for full-time employment, which is enough to qualify for permanent supportive housing.
The application process for these benefits is cumbersome, complicated, bureaucratic and even adversarial. The homeless people served by HAC are overwhelmingly poor, mentally ill, sick and marginalized. Without HAC’s help, they could not navigate the maze of social safety net programs that provide a pathway out of homelessness.
Through HAC’s legal assistance, our clients begin to put their lives back together with sustainable income, healthcare, mental health treatment, housing and restored dignity. HAC is the only program in the Bay Area that specializes in legal services to those who are chronically homeless.
Become a Fundraiser for HAC!
On June 30, the Homeless Action Center wraps up its 2016-17 annual campaign. We started with an ambitious goal of $50,000. We have already raised over $42,000. We need your help to close the gap!
Are you willing to rally your friends, family and networks to support the Homeless Action Center? Join our Closing the Gap! Campaign. It’s easy and fun. Click here to create your own personal fundraising page!
HAC focuses on the obstacles clients face when they apply for essential safety net services. With legal help, homeless men and women can receive medical care, mental health treatment and a modest, but reliable, monthly income. This means fewer emergency room visits, fewer arrests, less time in county jail, a greater likelihood of stable housing and restored dignity.
Every dollar helps make sure HAC is able to address every difficulty head on. Click here to make a donation or to create your own personal fundraising page! Thank you!
HAC’s Accomplishments in 2016
HAC serves clients throughout Alameda County. We have an office in Berkeley, an office in downtown Oakland and a new office in West Oakland. In 2016, HAC provided assistance to 1403 men and 936 women. 1,691 cases were completed. An additional 1,357 cases were still pending when the year ended. The results include 512 completed SSI cases with a success rate of 87%!
HAC recently won an SSI case for a homeless client with severe mental illness. Our attorney fought the case for three years! The client was so disillusioned at the beginning he did not even want to apply. Now he will get three years of retroactive benefits and is guaranteed health care!