LOS ANGELES--()--Southern California Housing Rights Center d/b/a the Housing Rights Center (“HRC”) today announced that public interest attorney and fair housing expert Chancela Al-Mansour will serve as HRC’s next Executive Director.
“We know that Chancela will do a fantastic job, and I am excited for what this opportunity means for her, for the Housing Rights Center, and for the communities we serve.”
Founded in 1968, HRC is one of the largest nonprofit fair housing organizations in the country. Its mission is to enforce fair housing laws and prevent all forms of discrimination in housing. HRC has contracts with many cities, counties, and other governmental entities across Southern California. HRC provides telephone and in-person counseling to tenants and landlords regarding their respective rights and responsibilities. It also investigates housing discrimination complaints and resolves cases in a number of ways, including litigation if necessary.
Chancela Al-Mansour has been actively involved in fair housing advocacy for the past 18 years. From 1992 to 1994, Al-Mansour litigated fair housing cases, produced training and resource materials, and trained attorneys in state and federal fair housing law while serving as an Earl Johnson Community Law Fellow at the Western Center on Law and Poverty. From 1994 to 1998, she served as the Vice President of the Fair Housing Congress of Southern California, and in 1998 she served as its President. Al-Mansour has authored articles on fair housing advocacy, one of which is still recognized as one of the most comprehensive research tools for fair housing litigation. Al-Mansour has also lectured on fair housing advocacy at Loyola Law School and USC Gould School of Law.
“It is with great pride we announce that Chancela Al-Mansour will be the next Executive Director of the Housing Rights Center. She has shown a true commitment to fair housing, and she is a well-respected leader and authority on the subject,” said Aaron Bloom, President of HRC’s Board of Directors. “Chancela is incredibly bright, knowledgeable, articulate and personable. She also has a proven track record of success and a real passion for social justice,” Bloom added, “We know that Chancela will do a fantastic job, and I am excited for what this opportunity means for her, for the Housing Rights Center, and for the communities we serve.”
For the past 16 years, Al-Mansour has worked at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (“NLS”). She began her career at NLS as a staff attorney, then served as a supervising attorney, and most recently has been serving as a directing attorney. Al-Mansour was originally hired by NLS after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake to lead its investigation of possible discrimination by FEMA in the provision of services, including Section 8 housing assistance to African Americans, Latinos and non-English-speaking persons. More recently, she worked on homeless prevention advocacy at NLS and developed and oversaw its Bankruptcy Clinic Project and its volunteer attorney and law student projects.
Al-Mansour also managed her own law firm that she founded with Gary Rhoades, former Director of Litigation at HRC and a current Santa Monica Deputy City Attorney. She has litigated numerous fair housing cases involving familial status, disability and race discrimination. She and Rhoades filed the landmark Roommates.com case. Al-Mansour has also litigated cases involving predatory lending, truth in lending violations and fraudulent mortgage broker practices.
In addition to her broad range of fair housing experience, Al-Mansour has also litigated and performed substantial policy, legislative and administrative advocacy in other areas, including immigration, government benefits, equal access to financial services, land use, redevelopment and landlord-tenant issues. She has also led many campaigns and collaborative efforts on behalf of disadvantaged communities. Since 1998, Al-Mansour has served on the Board of the California Reinvestment Coalition (“CRC”), a coalition of more than 280 nonprofit organizations and public agencies across California that advocates for the right of low-income communities and communities of color to have fair and equal access to banking and other financial services. Al-Mansour served as CRC’s Chair from 2002 to 2003 and has also served as CRC’s Vice Chair.
Al-Mansour will begin serving as the Executive Director of the Housing Rights Center starting in late October. “Housing discrimination has not diminished. It has only become more complex and covert, thereby requiring stronger investigation and enforcement of fair housing laws,” said Al-Mansour. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead the Housing Rights Center in its ongoing efforts to combat discrimination in housing,” she added.
Al-Mansour received her B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College and her J.D. from U.C. Davis School of Law. In 2007, she received the Los Angeles Pro Bono Council Award for her coordination of pro bono and law student services to Hurricane Katrina evacuees. She has also received the California Reinvestment Coalition’s CRA Screaming Eagle Award and the California Advocates for Consumer Education’s Community Advocacy Award. Al-Mansour has also been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer by Los Angeles Magazine.