In the day-to-day practice of law, we are often asked to sort out problems big and small with little opportunity to control who walks in our door. However, at Garvey Schubert Barer, the firm’s dedication to pro bono representation provides encouragement and support for its attorneys in giving a voice to those who cannot afford one. Ed Sullivan and I use our land use expertise on the Board of the Housing Land Advocates, an Oregon non-profit organization which has as its mission the support of land use policies that ensure land is available for affordable housing development in sustainable communities.
Recently, Housing Land Advocates Board Members, Ed Sullivan and Karin Power, published an article, entitled, “Coming Affordable Housing Challenges for Municipalities after the Great Recession.” The article summarizes the challenges for cost-burdened renters in the current economy. The Great Recession’s effect on affordable housing in America was undeniably pervasive, and the statistical figures of cost-burdened rental households appear bleak when compared against the ongoing losses in rental housing stock. With fewer renters than ever supported through HUD assistance programs, however, municipalities simply cannot afford to take a back seat to the ramifications of additional housing unit loss, particularly as it appears that the number of rental households is poised for continued growth over the current decade. As this article details, municipalities can and should implement the limited and cost-efficient tools they have at their disposal to mitigate the impact of an increasingly competitive rental market on their low-income residents.