The Watsonville Law Center provides low-income individuals equal access to justice. Through its four projects, the Agricultural Workers’ Access to Health Project (AWAHP), the Barriers to Employment Project, the Economic Justice Project (EJP) and the Consumer Protection Project, WLC promotes fair employment practices, facilitates welfare recipients to reenter the work force, helps injured workers access medical treatment and assists victims of fraud to obtain just compensation. WLC often collaborates with other community organizations as a more holistic approach in order to most effectively leverage the impact of its services.
ECONOMIC JUSTICE PROJECT
The Economic Justice Project works with its partners, La Manzana Community Resources, and the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, to help strengthen low-income families and improve their economic prospects over time. Initiated in 2004, EJP’s goal is to help participants resolve pending legal problems that contribute to financial instability (e.g. wage claims, medical debt, consumer fraud, unlawful debt collection) and to provide support and education to help participants avoid falling victim to abusive business practices in the future.
AGRICULTURAL WORKERS' ACCESS TO HEALTH PROJECT (AWAHP)
The Agricultural Workers’ Access to Health Project provides outreach, education and legal and medical clinics to agricultural and other low-wage workers who have experienced a work injury or illness. WLC and its project partners, California Rural Legal Assistance and Salud para la Gente, help individuals access medical treatment and other important benefits under workers’ compensation. AWAHP also leads The Workers’ Compensation Enforcement Committee, a statewide collaborative of government and non-profit agencies committed to eliminating barriers faced by agricultural and other low-wage immigrant workers in the workers’ compensation system. The overall goal of the collaborative is to improve workers' access to workers’ compensation benefits through reporting and enforcement and the development of more effective statewide policies.
BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT PROJECT
The Barriers to Employment Project provides legal assistance to CalWORKS (welfare to work) participants regarding legal matters that pose barriers to obtaining gainful employment. Services address issues such as obtaining employment-related licenses and certifications, drivers’ license reinstatement, custody and visitation, credit and debt problems, and clearing criminal records.
CONSUMER PROTECTION PROJECT
The Consumer Protection Project provides education, advocacy and representation to victims of consumer fraud. This Project focuses on auto issues related to purchases, loans, towing, and repairs; as well as immigration consultant and other professional services fraud, telecom fraud including cell phone, long distance, and calling cards, consumer credit contracts, unlawful debt collection and credit reporting practices, identity theft, and other consumer scams.
LANGUAGE ACCESS TO THE COURT PROJECT
The Language Access to Court Project (LAC) is a joint project between the Watsonville Law Center and the Santa Cruz County Superior Court, provided through the Court's Self Help Center. LAC provides Spanish-speaking self-litigants language access to the court through the provision on in-language legal information and assistance with court forms and pleadings at the Court's Self-Help Center. LAC does NOT provide legal representation, and may assist multiple parties in obtaining access to forms and information.