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Affordable Housing , Community Development

Leveraging a Lawyer’s Perspective to Advance Housing Affordability and Opportunity

1 February 2017
Partnership for Strong Communities (PSC)

Kayleigh Lombardi, Policy Analyst, Partnership for Strong Communities

As a college student sitting in my Intro to Environmental Law class learning about the impact the Love Canal disaster had on hundreds of low-income families, I felt a strong sense of urgency and desire to learn more about environmental hazards and how they impact people. Moving forward I was determined to continue my studies while always having land use and environmental stewardship in the back of my mind. I continued to law school with this same notion, focusing on public interest and nonprofit law, but attempting to see through an environmental-impact lens. Housing advocacy and community development directly intersect with environmental stewardship. Thoughtful housing and land use planning are integral to planning for the health and demographics of our future generations.

In my first several weeks at the Partnership I quickly learned how vastly access to housing crosses disciplines. In my short time here I’ve been introduced to housing as much more than just a land use and zoning issue, but also a transportation issue, a resources issue, a socio-economic issue, a political issue, and a legal issue.

In my former role practicing as a transactional attorney I gained experience working on various aspects of mixed-income and affordable housing developments. I worked with both private and public mixed-income developments, assisted urban and suburban affordable housing developments, and learned the complex intricacies that go into state, federal, and private funding of housing developments. I also worked with individuals and organizations in various stages of development as well as various roles – from developer – to housing authority – to property management – to boards of directors – to residents.

Development, and the amount and types of development the market can support, largely shapes the conversation around affordable housing. Part of my attraction to the HOMECT Campaign was this shared realization and the need to craft thoughtful policy that responds to very real technical challenges.

I’m excited to join a group of like-minded individuals – and to learn more about all the areas of expertise here at the Partnership. I hope to offer my support and to contribute yet another perspective on how the Campaign and the Partnership can work to understand and respond to the housing needs of the state.

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