Staff Attorney/Fair Housing Coordinator

Posted by: Project Sentinel

Santa Clara, CA, US

The Agency

Since 1971, Project Sentinel, a non-profit, civil rights agency, has advanced fair housing goals by counseling and investigating complaints of housing discrimination and advocating for victims of discriminatory practices. We seek to develop and promote fairness and equality of opportunity in all areas of housing for all persons. The agency currently provides services to over 3 million people in eight diverse Bay Area counties: Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Monterey, Stanislaus and Merced. For more information about Project Sentinel, please visit our website at or check out our Facebook page.

The Position

We are looking for a full-time Staff Attorney/Fair Housing Coordinator to work out of our Santa Clara office. The position would entail conducting general fair housing investigations and advocacy for assigned communities, representing the agency and/or clients in administrative enforcement proceedings, providing limited scope legal counseling of clients, conducting community outreach and education, providing information and referral services to callers with landlord/tenant and housing discrimination questions, conducting systemic investigations of serious habitability and retaliation complaints, and managing local grants for assigned communities. You will join a team of several other motivated, qualified and dedicated public interest advocates in doing important work that makes a real difference in our communities. Excellent opportunity for someone looking to transition into public interest legal work. Fluency in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin or other language common in the Bay Area is desirable, but not required

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct investigations into housing discrimination and habitability complaints, including unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, complaints of retaliation by housing providers in response to tenant complaints about safe and sanitary living conditions, including interviewing parties and witnesses, collecting and analyzing evidence, and conducting on line research;
  • Preparing and filing administrative complaints of discrimination; advocating on behalf of the agency and/or clients in the course of the administrative proceeding, including participating in mediation, drafting mediation briefs, and presenting and organizing evidence for the administrative investigation;
  • Providing limited scope representation in the form of counseling and advice to clients in both our offices and at a neighborhood clinic;
  • Screen phone calls from tenants to identify nature and scope of complaint; analyze facts divulged in call to identify legal issues presented and make appropriate referrals;
  • Interview tenants regarding their living conditions and experiences, both on the phone and in person, in the office and on site, and keep accurate and complete records of your interviews;
  • Where necessary and appropriate, conduct site visits to properties being investigated; collect documents, take photographs, and draft and conduct surveys;
  • Manage grant deliverables and reporting requirements for the assigned local jurisdiction;
  • Maintain accurate and complete case management database records and information and referral records for all cases and calls;
  • Provide community outreach and education on fair housing and landlord/tenant issues, such as preparing written materials and power point presentations;
  • Assist local funding jurisdictions in fulfilling their obligations to affirmatively further fair housing;
  • Work cooperatively with other staff attorneys and fair housing coordinators to achieve agency objectives, including working on special team and individual projects to affirmatively further fair housing;
  • Perform other miscellaneous work as assigned, including working on grant proposals, planning symposia and other educational events, attending city and county council meetings, drafting letters, and representing agency interests at public meetings on topics of interest to the agency.


  • Candidate must have at least a J.D. Membership in the California Bar is a plus but is not required. We may consider candidates with other graduate degrees, but the scope of the job duties would be somewhat different.
  • Fluency in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin or other language common in the Bay area highly desirable, but not required.
  • Candidate must have a desire to work on behalf of civil rights protections and demonstrate respect for, individuals and groups without regard to race, religion, sex, color, national origin, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability;
  • Candidate should also have a desire to help vulnerable communities with limited resources, often the targets of exploitive practices, such as new immigrants, disabled individuals, and other minority communities;
  • Experience working in non-profit or civil rights environment highly valued, or a demonstration of a genuine interest in working in such an environment;
  • Experience in diverse communities high valued, whether through life experience or work experience;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Excellent analytical skills;
  • Ability to manage an active case load and short timelines efficiently and effectively; strong organization skills are essential to this work;
  • Highly motivated, and capable of working in a busy and occasionally stressful environment;
  • Organized and able to maintain accurate records with attention to detail;
  • Creative problem-solving skills, flexibility, initiative and strong desire to help people essential!
  • Candidate should be team oriented, but able to work independently;
  • Good sense of humor;
  • Excellent computer skills. Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and/or Access a plus.

Read more here:: Idealist