Category Archives: housing

New Article: “Housing Resource Bundles: Distributive Justice and Federal Low-Income Housing Policy”

New Article: John Infranca, Housing Resource Bundles: Distributive Justice and Federal Low-Income Housing Policy, Richmond L. Rev. forthcoming 2015.  Abstract below:

Only one in four eligible households receives some form of rental assistance from the federal government. Nonetheless, there is no time limit for the receipt of this assistance; individuals can continue to receive benefits as long as they satisfy eligibility requirements. In addition, individuals who do obtain assistance frequently have higher incomes than those denied it. Beyond simply providing housing, federal rental assistance is enlisted to serve a myriad of additional policy goals — including furthering economic integration and providing access to better neighborhoods — that can exacerbate inequities between those who receive benefits and those denied assistance. These broader objectives often increase the cost of housing assistance and reduce the number of households served.

Given increasingly limited resources and the growing demand for rental assistance, difficult decisions must be made regarding how to satisfy a range of conflicting programmatic goals. Although for at least four decades legal scholars, economists, public policy experts, and politicians have denounced the inequities in existing housing policy, no one has provided a detailed analysis of the specific ways in which this policy departs from norms of distributive justice and of how it might be made more equitable. This Article moves the conversation beyond simply decrying existing inequities and instead carefully analyzes federal housing policy in light of specific theories of distributive justice. Drawing on the philosophical literature, it evaluates the specifics of existing policies, and their distributional impacts, in light of five theories of distributive justice. It then proposes a new structure for federal rental assistance, which would allow recipients to choose among a set of “housing resource bundles.” This approach will not only satisfy the most salient understandings of distributive justice, but will also advance the concerns that underpin other distributive justice theories and allow federal housing policy to more effectively embrace a plurality of programmatic goals.

New Report: “Here We Go Again: Communities of Color, the Foreclosure Crisis, and Loan Servicing Failures”

New Report: MFY Legal Services & the ACLU, Here We Go Again: Communities of Color, the Foreclosure Crisis, and Loan Servicing Failures (2015).

News Article: Rural America’s Silent Housing Crisis – The Atlantic

Rural America’s Silent Housing Crisis – The Atlantic.

New Report: “When Discretion Means Denial: A National Perspective on Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing”

New Report: Marie Claire Tran-Leung, When Discretion Means Denial: A National Perspective on Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing (Shriver Center 2015).

News Article: Is Ending Segregation the Key to Ending Poverty? – The Atlantic

Is Ending Segregation the Key to Ending Poverty? – The Atlantic.

News Article: “The American Dream shatters in Prince George’s County” – The Washington Post

The American Dream shatters in Prince George’s County | The Washington Post.

New Report: “The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles”

New Report: Richard Rothstein, The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles (Economic Policy Institute 2014).

Program shields landlords willing to rent to the homeless | Local News | The Seattle Times

Program shields landlords willing to rent to the homeless | Local News | The Seattle Times.

News Article: Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce – NYTimes.com

Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce – NYTimes.com.

New-ish Article: “Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis Through Law School Clinics”

New Article: Nathalie Martin & Max Weinstein, Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis Through Law School Clinics, 20 Geo. J. Poverty Law & Pol’y 531 (2013).  Abstract below:

Since the 2008 financial crisis, unprecedented numbers of homes have been lost to foreclosure in the United States, all while public funds for free or reduced fee legal representation in some communities have all but disappeared. This means that most homeowners in foreclosure are unable to find lawyers to represent them. At the same time, clinical legal education, especially in subjects related to business and commercial law, is on the rise. This convergence offers a unique opportunity for law school clinics to give students valuable training in both litigation and financial law and also help fill the deep need for legal representation by homeowners in foreclosure. Each of us has experience representing homeowners in foreclosure, Max at Harvard Law School in the Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic, and Nathalie in the University of New Mexico School of Law’s Business and Tax Clinic.

In this Article, we discuss our experiences and offer advice and insights for clinics considering taking cases of this kind. Part I provides a very brief overview of the conditions that led to the financial crisis, a description of the extent of the problem, and a few ways clinical law programs can help. Part II discusses the practical and philosophical reasons why law school clinics play such a pivotal role in stemming the effects of the crisis on homeowners, through examples of cases litigated in Max’s clinic. Part Ill attempts to give readers a few of the basic tools they need to add this practice to their clinics for the benefit of individual homeowners and their communities.