Posts Tagged affordable housing

Job o’ the Day: Staff Attorney at Prairie State Legal Services in IL!

Prairie State Legal Services, Inc., a 65-lawyer legal services organization, serving 36 counties in northern and central ILLINOIS outside of Cook County,

is seeking applicants for a STAFF ATTORNEY position in our community legal services office located in BLOOMINGTON.  The successful applicant will participate in a full range of legal activities, including the preparation and
Prairie State Legal Services offers free legal services for low income persons and those over 60 who have serious civil legal problems and need legal help to solve them.conduct of administrative hearings and trials of cases for elderly and low-income persons.

Learn more at PSLawNet!

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Star Wars Director Proposes Affordable Housing Plan?

From CNNMoney:

 The film emperor may be striking back. For 25 years, filmmaker George Lucas tried to persuade his Marin County, Calif., neighbors to let him build a digital production studio on his ranch there, but the area’s residents thwarted the plan.

So Lucas has come up with an alternative for his Grady Ranch property: To build low-income housing on it.

In a letter posted online Lucasfilmwrote, “It is with great sadness that Skywalker Properties has decided to pull its application to build a studio facility.

Instead, the maker of some of the biggest box office successes of all time, including the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, intends to sell the property to the Marin Community Foundation (MCF), a non-profit that has already funded more than 2,500 units of affordable housing and will explore options for developing Grady Ranch.

Lucas had applied to the county planning commission for permits to build a 260,000 square-foot compound that would be used as a digital media production studio. The company claimed the facilities would create about 600 high-paying jobs.

“The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors,” Lucasfilm said in its statement. . . .

It may seem as if the affordable housing project is a way for Lucas to stick it to his opposition, but Tom Peters, the CEO of the Marin County Foundation disagrees. “I know Lucas and checked with him on that point personally and directly. It was essential that I was convinced that it was not done out of spite. I would not have accepted the project if I thought it was,” he said.

Read the rest here.

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Affordable Housing is Not Optional… Read this Compelling First-Person Account of a Homeless Mother and Daughter

Yesterday, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless’ blog featured a guest blogger who had a pretty compelling story to tell. Here’s a quick snippet, but read her post in its entirety at WLCH’s blog.

. . . I grew up in the DC foster care system. I didn’t have an easy childhood, but I was always a good student (I even won the science fair two years). After my high school graduation, I went to medical assistant school and began working. Three months after I had my daughter in 2008, I found out that I had Multiple Sclerosis. My daughter’s father decided he couldn’t deal with the stress, so he opted out of our lives. I went to work and realized that I would get sick in spurts. My relapses would come suddenly and fiercely, sometimes a numb leg or numb arms, sometimes I would go blind, sometimes I wouldn’t be able to move at all. It started to affect my ability to keep a job, and I fell behind on my rent.

I first went to Virginia Williams Family  Resource Center (FRC) in 2010 because I lost my apartment, but I was still employed. They gave me first month’s rent and security deposit, but I knew I would get sick again and that the short term assistance would not be enough to keep me from losing yet another apartment. I lost my job again because of my illness and I was evicted from my apartment shortly after that in the fall of  2011. My daughter and I house-hopped between our friends and family for almost two months, sleeping on couches and floors for as long as we could.

Finally, just before the New Year, we were placed in a hotel room on NY Avenue. I was grateful to have a bed to sleep on after so long. But now it’s been months and it feels like we’ve been forgotten. I don’t know what the rest of the shelter system is like, but when you’re in a hotel, you don’t talk to anyone, you don’t see anybody, you have no sense that anyone is working to help you. We’re just there. We’re just a number. I have not seen a caseworker since I got here.

Read the rest of Charmaine Walton’s story here.

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Job o’ the Day: Summer Law Clerk at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center!

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action (GNOFHAC) center is looking for dedicated, motivated, and talented law students to assist its staff with the investigation and enforcement of fair housing complaints.

GNOFHAC is a private, non-profit civil rights organization that was established in the summer of 1995 to eradicate housing discrimination throughout the greater New Orleans area through education, investigation, and enforcement activities. GNOFHAC is dedicated to fighting housing discrimination not only because it is illegal, but also because it is a divisive force that perpetuates poverty, segregation, ignorance, fear, and hatred.

Law clerks assist attorneys in all aspects of litigation including client intake, performing legal research, conducting factual investigation, drafting memoranda and motions, analyzing discovery materials, attending court proceedings, and preparing briefs.  Law clerks may also assist with community outreach events designed to educate the public about their fair housing rights.

For more information and to learn how to apply, check the listing at PSLawNet!

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Affordable Housing in the U.S. is a Myth?

From the Washington Post:

While rents have been rising, wages have stagnated, making affordable housing an increasingly scarce commodity. The National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group, calculated how many hours of work at the minimum wage would be required to afford a two-bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent—the government’s measure for the monthly cost of a “modest, non luxury rental unit” in a specific area, plus utilities. In no state was a 40-hour work week enough.

Read more and see the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s chart here.

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Job o’ the Day: Advocacy Associate at the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) in NY

The Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) – a member-organization of neighborhood-based affordable housing groups – seeks an Associate to coordinate policy and advocacy to win improved affordable housing policies in New York City. The Associate will help develop clear affordable housing policy recommendations, then implement those recommendations to win policy change by mobilizing advocacy campaigns with ANHD’s member organizations.

The Advocacy Associate will assist with the research, policy analysis, and development of ANHD’s housing production and preservation priorities, including a campaign to win policies that require permanent affordability of publicly-subsidized housing as well as synthesize policy ideas into easily understood materials for diverse audiences, including member groups, elected officials, policymakers/experts, and other issue stakeholders. The Associate will support member advocacy committees and working groups by working collaboratively with our members, providing them with the information and technical assistance needed to formulate and pursue successful Citywide advocacy campaigns.

To learn more and apply, see the listing at PSLawNet!

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Job o’ the Day: Neighborhood Revitalization Fellowship at The American City Coalition in Boston!

The American City Coalition is a nonprofit organization which was founded in 1994 to promote best practices and innovation in neighborhood revitalization. The TACC Fellow will work on an intensive project not to exceed two months, collaborating closely with TACC staff and partners. The TACC Fellow will:

  • Lead an independent project related to social and economic development of distressed neighborhoods and housing developments
  • Coordinate and collaborate with consultants contracted by TACC
  • Engage with relevant institutions at the local level
  • Conduct specific research related to housing and residential services best practices
  • Contribute to the research and writing

To apply, see the listing at PSLawNet!

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Planned Affordable Housing Project in Brooklyn Shut Down as Discriminatory

by Kristen Pavón

A bitter minority² vs. minority battle (temporarily anyway) ended earlier this week when a NY judge granted a preliminary injunction against the construction of an affordable housing project on 31-acres of city-owned land in Brooklyn.

The planned Broadway Triangle affordable housing project was designed to be full of multi-room apartments in buildings no higher than eight stories – perfect for chasidic families with many children, who can’t use an elevator on Shabbat or holidays.

Plaintiffs in the case claim the project is discriminatory by design, meant to favor Orthodox applicants, though the area is heavily black and Latino. As a result, plaintiffs claim, the planned project is a violation of the Fair Housing Act, Equal Protection Clause and state and city human rights laws.

“There can be no compliance with the Fair Housing Act where defendants never analyzed the impact of the community preference,” Goodman wrote in her decision last month, which became public last week. . . .

A demographic analyst working for the plaintiffs . . . Lance Freeman of Columbia University, testified that in the districts qualifying for the project, 90,000 blacks and Hispanics needed small apartments, compared with only 9,000 whites and/or Yiddish speakers who needed large apartments, the New York Times reported. That made the focus on large apartments out of character with the area, plaintiffs said. . . .

The city and the defendants are debating whether to appeal the ruling or to allow the case to go to trial, said David Pollock, associate executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, citing conversations with those involved.

I find this stuff fascinating (fair housing cases, not discrimination)… I’m not informed enough to have an opinion on this yet, but I will say that it’s sad to see minorities fighting each other rather than working together.

You can read more about the case at here.

Also, FYI — I get great policy articles (like this one) in my inbox from the National Institute for Latino Policy. You can join the NiLP Network here.

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Job o’ the Day: Policy Intern at the National Low income Housing Coalition in DC!

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is looking for students for their Spring 2012 Policy Internship position. The policy intern tracks new legislation, attends and summarizes Congressional hearings for Memo to Members, participates in visits to Congressional offices, and develops materials for use in lobbying the House and Senate to accomplish NLIHC’s mission. 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America’s affordable housing crisis.

Sound interesting to you? Check out the listing at PSLawNet!

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Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Loses ALL of its Homeless Prevention Legal Services Funding

by Kristen Pavón

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley‘s homeless prevention legal services have been completely eliminated — a loss of $443,228 — because of Westchester County’s 2012 budget.

Lucille Oppenheim, the vice president of LSHV’s Board of Directors spoke out on behalf of the entire board yesterday against the devastating cut and put the program’s elimination in context.

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley has been representing indigent, disabled and low-income working families and their children since 1967, when we began operations in Westchester County. At the request of state and federal funders, we expanded throughout the Hudson Valley, based on the excellence and cost-effectiveness of our work. Our legal services is one of the basic safety net services provided to those in need throughout our county. It is clearly not a “nice to have” service, but rather as essential a service as medical care and education.

We are astonished that Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s recently released 2012 budget totally eliminates legal services for poor, disabled and low-income households facing eviction or foreclosure.

The representation provided by Legal Services of the Hudson Valley ensures that parents have a roof over their heads for themselves and their children. Without housing, families face homelessness, and a downward spiral of family instability, physical and mental health problems and educational deprivation for their children. The categorical slashing of county funds, eliminating the option for struggling families to get back on their feet, does not eliminate the basic need for stability. Not only do families suffer, but local taxpayers must pay for sheltering the homeless and/or provide significant rent subsidies to keep families housed. This will cost much more to us as county taxpayers than our homelessness prevention program. The elimination of eviction-prevention funds amounts to the destruction of the community safety net at its most basic. Balance this against the fact that our eviction prevention program saved the county government (and us taxpayers) more than $1.6 million last year.

The concept that categorical tax cuts is an ideal way to balance a budget overlooks not only the importance of quality of life, but more basically glosses over the deep investment needed in human capital which has always kept our country strong going back to our founding fathers.

Every dollar in the eliminated homeless prevention budget has a face on it: the single parent recently laid off, grandmothers on fixed incomes being evicted, disabled persons who no longer can work, children in a family being foreclosed, and many more examples. As a former child advocate attorney representing children, I have seen first-hand the civic importance of assuring equal access to justice for the coming generation. A zero-based budget with a zero investment in our children and their families is very short-sighted.

Read more here.

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