Jotwell Post: “How and Why Representation Matters” [Reviewing Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter & Alyx Mark, Lawyers, Power, and Strategic Expertise, 93 Denv. L. Rev. 469 (forthcoming 2016)]

Jotwell Post: Jessica Steinberg, How and Why Representation Matters, Jotwell, Aug. 17, 2016 [Reviewing Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter & Alyx Mark, Lawyers, Power, and Strategic Expertise, 93 Denv. L. Rev. 469 (forthcoming 2016)]

New Article: “Conflation, Intractability and Affordable Housing”

New Article: Steven J. Eagle, Conflation, Intractability and Affordable Housing, forthcoming Fordham Urb. L.J. Abstract below:

This Article examines the varying and often-conflicting views of “affordable housing” of different social and economic groups. It asserts that attempts to deal with affordable housing issues must take into account the shelter, cultural, and economic needs of those populations, and also the effects of housing decisions on economic prosperity. The article focuses on affordable housing goals such as making available an ample supply of housing in different price ranges; attracting and retaining residents who contribute to the growth and economic prosperity of cities; ensuring that neighborhood housing remains available for existing residents, while preserving their cultural values; and providing adequate housing in high-cost cities for low- and moderate-income persons and the overlapping concern for “fair housing” for families of all races and backgrounds.

Thereafter, the Article examines the benefits and detriments of various means of providing more affordable housing, including fair-share mandates, rent control, and inclusionary zoning (including whether that leads to impermissible government takings of private property). It then briefly considers the merits and demerits of federal subsidy programs.

The Article briefly considers conceptual and practical problems in implementing the Supreme Court’s 2015 Inclusive Communities disparate impact holding, and HUD’s 2015 regulations on “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” Finally, it discusses how the concept of “affordable housing” conflates the separate issues of high housing prices and poverty, and how housing prices might be reduced through removal of regulatory barriers to new construction.

Throughout, the Article stresses that advancing affordable housing goals have both explicit and implicit costs, and that goals often are conflicting. To those ends, it employs economic and sociological as well as legal perspectives.

News Coverage: “Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation”

News Coverage: John Eligon & Robert Gebeloff, Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation, N.Y. Times, Aug. 20, 2016.


Job Opportunity: “Assistant Director in the Office of Public Interest” at American University Washington College of Law

The Assistant Director in the Office of Public Interest will be responsible for developing new programs, bringing coherence to American University’s Washington College of Law’s (WCL) vision and managing the many on-going public interest/pro bono projects sponsored by WCL. This position will be an advocate for public interest law and will be responsible for maintaining an institutionalized, formal Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program that promotes specific work opportunities and offers students guidance in selecting pro bono projects.  More after the break and full details here.

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New Podcast (with linked website): “The Uncertain Hour”

New Podcast (with linked website): NPR Marketplace, “The Uncertain Hour” — Series about Welfare Reform at 20 with many episodes.  [Could be great for those teaching poverty law and worth checking out.]

-Thanks to Cynthia Nance for the heads up!

New Article: “Can Poverty in America Be Compared to Conditions in the World’s Poorest Countries?”

New Article: H. Luke Shaefer, Pinghui Wu & Kathryn Edin, Can Poverty in America Be Compared to Conditions in the World’s Poorest Countries?, July 2016. Abstract below:

Some contend that the American poor are affluent by international standards, and recent survey evidence finds that Americans have deeply divided views about the conditions faced by the poor in this country. To what extent can poverty in the United States be compared to conditions in the world’s poorest nations? Few analysts have examined this question beyond “instrumental”measures of poverty such as income and consumption that only indirectly capture well­being (Sen, 1999). The current paper uses available evidence to examine this question based on four direct indicators of wellbeing: 1) life expectancy; 2) infant mortality; 3) risk of homicide, and 4) risk of incarceration. By these metrics, well­being is highly stratified in the U.S. Among Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder, quality of life looks similar to what is experienced in countries with pe r­capita economic output that is a small fraction of that in the U.S.

New Article: “Equitably Housing (Almost) Half a Nation of Renters”

New Article: Andrea J. Boyack, Equitably Housing (Almost) Half a Nation of Renters (forthcoming Buffalo L. Rev. 2016).  Abstract below:

America’s population of renters is growing faster than the supply of available rental units. Rental vacancies are reaching new lows, and rental rates are reaching new highs. Millions of former homeowners have lost their homes in foreclosure and, due to today’s much tighter mortgage underwriting realities, will not realistically re-enter the ranks of owner-occupants. For a number of reasons – variety of incomes, different stages in life, and a range of personal preferences and lifestyles – homeownership is not for everyone. And yet federal government housing policy has consistently prioritized homeownership over renter-specific issues, such as affordability and rental supply and distribution. State and local housing assistance programs are shockingly insufficient to meet ballooning needs. Reallocation of focus and funds at the federal level, however, could help grow the supply of rental housing and provide renters at all income levels a realistic chance of occupying quality and affordable rental housing, even in a “high opportunity” neighborhood.

The government must first reorient its myopic housing policy focus away from an over-emphasis on building homeownership. It must free up government funds for use in support of affordable rental housing. In addition, government funds and agency efforts should be carefully allocated to increase the availability of housing assistance and government gap funding of affordable housing as well as to encourage private investment in the supply of affordable rental housing.

Op-Ed: “Twenty Years Since Welfare ‘Reform'”

Op-Ed: Kathryn Edin & Luke Shaefer, Twenty Years Since Welfare ‘Reform’, The Atlantic, Aug. 22, 2016.

New Article: “Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994 – 2014”

New Article: Sarah K. Bruch, Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994 – 2014, IRP Discussion Paper No. 1432-16 (Aug. 2016) [Includes a good bibliography].

-Thanks to Susan Bennett for the heads up!

News Coverage: “Rent-to-Own Homes: A Win-Win for Landlords, a Risk for Struggling Tenants”

News Coverage: Alexandra Stevenson & Matthew Goldstein, Rent-to-Own Homes: A Win-Win for Landlords, a Risk for Struggling Tenants, N.Y. Times, Aug. 21, 2016.