FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cynthia Martinez, Communications Director * 512.374.2764 * firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronica Carbajal, Attorney * 915.585.5107 * email@example.com
EL PASO, Texas – May 25, 2010 – A lawsuit against the City of El Paso filed by two families that were forced from their homes in the Mowad subdivision in 2006 can proceed, according to a recent decision by the Eighth Court of Appeals.
Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) and the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project (PDNCRP), Patricia Bustillos and Marcelina Campos are former residents of the Mowad subdivision who were forced to evacuate their homes after massive flooding in August 2006. They applied for the relocation assistance from the City of El Paso in 2007 and brought a lawsuit against the City after it failed to apply the same application requirements to them that it did to other applicants and failed to provide them with a written decision on their applications.
“These residents applied for assistance as soon as they knew it was available,” said TRLA attorney Veronica Carbajal. “But the City ignored them and their rights to apply for this aid.”
According to the original lawsuit, when Bustillos and Campos applied for assistance they were asked for additional proof of their claims that were not required for other applicants. The City also failed to provide them with a written decision on their applications. As a result of the latest legal decision, the women will have the opportunity to have their case heard by the trial court, almost four years after having been forced from their homes.
Added Carbajal, “All they want is to be treated in the same manner that the City treated their neighbors and other recipients of the relocation assistance. The assistance was designed to help flood victims when they were most vulnerable. By delaying their review, the City has completely ignored the suffering of these flood victims.”
Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services.
The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) promotes racial, social, and economic justice through education and litigation. TCRP strives to foster equality, secure justice, ensure diversity, and strengthen communities. TCRP was founded in 1990 as part of Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido, a non-profit community-based foundation located in South Texas. The TRCP has offices in Austin (TCRP), San Juan (STP — in the Rio Grande Valley) and El Paso (PDN).