December 07, 2020 State & Local Government Law

Affordable Housing Series

Wednesday, January 13 & Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Affordable Housing Development

Affordable Housing Development

Co-sponsored by the ABA Forum on Affordable Housing & Community Development; Civil Rights & Social Justice Section; Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities; Commission on Homelessness & Poverty; Coalition on Racial & Ethic Justice; Commission on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity; Government & Public Sector Lawyers Division

The SLG Land Use Committee & the Land Use Institute are offering a series on Affordable Housing to provide cutting-edge information that fulfills our commitment to true “take home value.” There will be two 3-hour afternoon sessions, each having two 90-minute panels. Frank Schnidman will serve as moderator for these sessions.

* Registration for the live session is complimentary, however CLE credit is not available. An on-demand version of the program will be made available for purchase approximately two weeks after the event. Only the on-demand program will offer CLE credit. On-demand registrants must view the recording in its entirety and meet MCLE verification requirements to qualify for credit.

Wednesday, January 20

1:30 – 3pm ET
Webinar 3: How Do We Get More Affordable Housing?*

Part 1
What History Teaches Us
When Shakespeare wrote “What’s past is prologue” in The Tempest, he could have been describing the affordable housing predicament in which many low-to moderate-income Americans will find themselves during the 2020s. The land and complex history of the federal government’s active involvement in encouraging, incentivizing, directing, financing, and shaping the physical, social, and racial dimensions of housing predates the U.S. Constitution. While millions of Americans today can trace a large percent of their family wealth to real estate equity made possible by these government programs, this wealth has not been evenly distributed. The parallel story of two groups — Native Americans and African Americans — has been much more problematic, as lands were confiscated from the first group to make possible widespread white settlement, while members of the second group were purposefully excluded from participation in many federal housing programs or from predominantly white subdivisions and suburbs that grew out of these programs.

To be covered in this presentation will not only be this history, but also the federal legislative acts that fostered this inequality— including the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Homestead Act of 1862, the Standard Zoning Enabling Act, various financial legislative enactments and National Housing Acts, and the formation and programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This foundation is seen as the history that teaches how to better address the challenges of affordability in a truly committed, serious, comprehensive and equitable manner
.• Michael Allan Wolf, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Part 2
Regulatory Tools
Once local housing stakeholders have evaluated their housing market and understand the relationship between costs and rents and how federal, state and local policies and programs operate, it is time to examine what tools can be effectively used to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Among the tools that will be evaluated will be those incentives that expand production, diversify production, or accelerate production. These incentives can be divided into regulatory incentives (such as density bonuses, flexible design criteria, reduced parking requirements, expediated permitting, and as-of-right development) and financial incentives (such as tax abatement, reduced fees, monetary grants and grant of land, and provision of infrastructure).
• Adam M. Gordon, Fair Share Housing Center, Cherry Hill, NJ

Part 3
Financial Tools
The development cost of affordable housing includes site acquisition, construction or rehabilitation, soft costs, development fees and financing fees. There are operational costs that include not only operation of the units, but also rental assistance.

These costs can be covered by debt, equity participation and grants.

This presentation will review Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to fund construction as well as similar state programs. In addition, tax exempt bonds, HOME loans, CDBG funds, and various federal, state and local programs that can be used in concert to piece together a financial package to cover the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation, soft costs, development and financing costs will be reviewed.
• Kelly Rushin LewisImmediate Past Chair — ABA Forum on Affordable Housing, Jones Walker LLP, Birmingham, AL

Register to attend

3:30 – 5pm ET
Webinar 4: Who Is Going to Build Affordable Housing?*

Part 1
Faith-Based Efforts & Charitable Tools
This session will highlight charitable funding tools and provide a few examples from around the United States. One is how churches in Fort Lauderdale came together collectively to address homelessness, another from Atlanta on how mission-minded businessmen are providing mezzanine funding and a computer/ cellphone application developed to facilitate rapid rehousing and support of tenants in interactions with landlords.
• Amy Boulris, Gunster, Miami, FL
• Jeanne McMains, Senior Vice President, Complex Gift Planning Solutions, Alpharetta, GA
• David Allman, Founder & Chairman, Regent Partners, Atlanta, GA

Part 2
Small Builders
The array of policy issues and tools have been covered in this series of presentations, and now through a number of case studies of small builders in South Carolina who have navigated the regulatory and financial challenges, detailed descriptions of the experience gained will be presented to guide the practitioner on how to best advise their client on the issues and options they will face as a small builder who seeks to develop affordable housing.
• W. Andrew Gowder, Jr., Austen & Gowder, Charleston, SC

Part 3
Large Builders
The largest builders are national publicly traded companies that have thrived, but their success is based upon individual local markets. Relationships with city or county officials are critical to that success. Large projects mean larger impact fees to a community, and large projects provide the opportunity for flexibility in the unit mix to better be able to include affordable units — by incentives or by mandatory requirements.

This presentation also builds upon the foundation of the previous sessions, and through case studies, shows examples of how government and large builders can work together to provide affordable units to both meet a community’s goals, and the builders’ bottom line.
• Mitchell NewmanDirector of Acquisitions & Entitlements, Lennar Builders, Mt. Laurel, NJ

Register to attend

Coming On-Demand Soon

Webinar 1: Affordable Housing Update & COVID-19 Impacts*

Part 1
Racial Segregation: The Roots of the Housing Deficit
The history of racial segregation in the United States, and how government policy fostered actions that created the affordable housing deficit will be reviewed. Many believe that racially discriminatory landlords and bankers were the prime cause of residential segregation, however, there is a long history of federal, state and local policies that generated not only the residential segregation found across the country, but also the shortage of quality affordable housing. Public policy options that are needed to address the challenges to both racial segregation and lack of quality affordable housing will be discussed.
• Sheryll D. Cashin, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law — Civil Rights & Social Justice, Georgetown University Law Center, Author of White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality, Washington, DC

Part 2
The Rise of the Homevoters
Why local zoning has become so restrictive will be explored. In the 1970s, unprecedented peacetime inflation, touched off by the oil cartel OPEC, combined with longstanding federal tax privileges to transform owner-occupied homes into growth stocks in the eyes of their owners. The inability to insure their homes’ newfound value converted homeowners into “homevoters,” whose local political behavior focused on preventing development that might hinder the rise in their home values.

Homevoters seized on the nascent national environmental movement, epitomized by Earth Day, and modified its agenda to serve local demands. It thereby eroded the power of the predevelopment coalition called the “growth machined,” which had formerly moderated zoning.

The post-1970 shift in the American economy from industrial employment to knowledge-based services rewarded college graduates and regions that specialized in software and finance. Residents of suburbs in the larger urban areas of the Northeast and West Coast used existing zoning and new environmental leverage to protect the growth rate of their home values. The regional spread of these regulations has slowed the growth of the economy and perpetuated regional income inequalities.

A proposal to modify this trend by reducing federal tax subsidies to homeownership will be discussed.
• William A. Fischel, Professor of Economics & Robert C. (1925) & Hilda Hardy Professor of Legal Studies, Emeritus, Dartmouth College, Author of The Homevoter Hypothesis: How Home Values Influence Local Government Taxation, School Finance & Land Use Policies, Hanover, NH

Part 3
Impact of COVID-19 on Affordable Housing
The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on low income, and persons of color in the context of affordable housing will be explored. Through a discussion of specific examples, the crisis of affordability even before COVID-19 will be reviewed, and the impact of closing down the economy to prevent the spread of the disease on low-income homeowners and renters will be analyzed. The immediate short-term effects, and the long-term impact will be discussed, along with governmental policy options needed to address this additional challenge to affordability.
• Victor M. Marquez, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, San Francisco, CA

Coming on-demand soon

Webinar 2: Implementing Affordable Housing Efforts*

Part 1
Fostering Education & Understanding
Through a case study of the 5-phase Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale redevelopment of the Northwest Gardens neighborhood, this presentation will highlight the creative and innovative efforts undertaken to foster acceptance and support. This $200 million public/ private partnership redevelopment of the Housing Authority’s more than 50-year-old housing stock has resulted in a 660-unit redevelopment that is now affordable housing for more than 1,500 people.

In 2012, the Northwest Gardens neighborhood received the first LEED-ND (neighborhood development) pre-certification in the state of Florida, second in the United States, and achieved LEED-ND Gold certification. Also, in 2012 Northwest Gardens was nationally honored with the US Environmental Protection Agency “Smart Growth Award for Equitable Development.”
• Scott StrawbridgeDirector of Development, Housing Authority of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Part 2
Addressing Short-Term & Long-Term Issues
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans lacked stable, affordable housing. Now, the crisis has highlighted the social and economic costs of this crucial gap in the safety net. People living in poor-quality, overcrowded, or unstable housing — or without any home at all — cannot follow public health directives to safely “shelter in place.” As a result, they are at greater risk of contracting the virus, along with other chronic illness.

Many people in this population also face risks of instability. Housing costs are a major financial stressor for low-income households, who typically devote between a third and a half of their incomes to housing. Cost burdened households are at risk of losing their homes to eviction or foreclosure, especially during economic downturns. These households are also unable to accumulate savings that could help them weather temporary income losses like so many have seen during the pandemic.

This presentation will present the short-term and long-terms issue when trying to provide decent, safe and affordable housing, and will outline 3 goals that should be part of policymaker’s objectives: Increasing the amount of long-term affordable rental housing; protecting existing affordable housing from physical deterioration and financial insecurity; and supporting affordable housing projects currently in the pipeline that face financial obstacles due to the pandemic.
• Erin GravesSenior Policy Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Co-Author of Strategies for Increasing Affordable Housing Amid the COVID-19 Economic Crisis, Boston, MA

Part 3
The Array of Available Tools
In order to understand how to approach the provision of affordable housing, a local government has to inventory what it has, understand what if wants (needs), and figure out how to get it. Defining the local level problem is the first step to being able to generate viable solutions, and analyze, evaluate and select the best alternatives.

Among the array of available tools to be discussed will be housing preservation ordinances, tax strategies, and code enforcement. In addition, subsidies to individuals, housing choice vouchers, government construction and developer incentives will be reviewed.

Zoning overrides, mandatory requirements, multiple units on a lot as-of-right (including accessory dwelling units), tiny houses, manufactured home neighborhoods, as well as “out of the box” proposals will be presented.
• Dwight Merriam, Weatogue, CT

Coming on-demand soon

* Registration for the live session is complimentary, however CLE credit is not available. An on-demand version of the program will be made available for purchase approximately two weeks after the event. Only the on-demand program will offer CLE credit. On-demand registrants must view the recording in its entirety and meet MCLE verification requirements to qualify for credit.


Scholarships to defray tuition expense for ABA Center for Professional Development programs are available upon application on a program-by-program, case-by-case basis. Preference will be given to public interest lawyers, government lawyers, full-time law professors, solo or small firm practitioners of limited means, and unemployed attorneys. Click here for more information and to complete a scholarship request for a specific program.