Housing Task Force
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, from July 16-21, 2020, 26.5% of American households were considered housing insecure, an increase from 22.1% in June of that year. The Aspen Institute predicted that 30-40 million renters — as much as 43% of all renter households in the U.S. — could be at risk of eviction in the last five months of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis have exacerbated concerns about evictions in many communities.
To address the pressing need for more information about the impact of laws and procedures on evictions, Congress directed the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to conduct an extensive study on the subject in the committee report that accompanied the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2020 (P.L. 116-93) (the “Eviction Study”).
In addition to the research and analysis mandated by Congress, LSC's Board of Directors created a Housing Task Force to work in tandem with the Eviction Study to both highlight the findings of the Study and to raise awareness about the devastating impact of illegal evictions, housing instability related to manufactured homes, long-term motel rentals and foreclosures, as well as housing issues compounded or caused by other vulnerabilities.
The Housing Task Force brings together an interdisciplinary, cross-sector group of experts — including legal aid providers and private attorneys, business and community leaders, technology professionals, thought leaders, and members of the judiciary — to:
- Highlight the findings of the Eviction Study to raise awareness about the devastating impact of evictions and other causes of housing insecurity;
- Recommend strategies for engaging private attorneys to provide legal assistance on a pro bono basis on evictions and the subject included within the Eviction Study; and
- Profile model programs that provide effective legal services or information to those facing eviction and other housing issues.
To learn more about LSC's Eviction Study, a congressionally-directed investigation of evictions as a legal process and the scope of unmet legal needs involving eviction at the state and local level, here.
For a look at previous LSC task forces, click here.
Housing Insecurity in the United States and the Role of Legal Aid
The Housing Task Force is sharing what it learned about housing insecurity and the role of civil legal aid in helping low-income individuals and
families achieve stability and security in a four-part series.
Contracts for Deed
Contract for deed arrangements attract people for whom traditional paths to home ownership feel out of reach. The brief highlights the considerable risks that homebuyers face with these precarious deals, where the buyer makes monthly payments to a seller toward eventually owning the home—no bank or mortgage involved.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, federal, state and local governments adopted various measures to keep evictions from spiraling out of control as the country faced a surge in joblessness, infections, loss of life, and economic uncertainty. Eviction moratoria and other actions are widely
credited with keeping legal evictions — those pursued through the court system in accordance with state and local laws—at low levels during 2020 and 2021.
Mobile and Manufactured Housing
Despite representing more than 6% of U.S. housing (and a substantially higher portion in many rural areas), manufactured housing is, willfully or not, often ignored and overlooked as an important pathway to affordable home ownership for millions of Americans. And if the vital role of these homes in the U.S. housing mix is often ignored, so are the unique and considerable challenges facing manufactured homeowners across the country.
Long-Term (or Extended Stay) Motel Rentals
The brief assembles research and legal aid providers’ insights into the reasons many low-income Americans reside in motels long-term and how these businesses often function as landlords without being held to the same legal standards. Legal aid interventions, existing protections and relevant case studies are also highlighted in the brief. Experts from Georgia, Virginia, Nevada, Ohio and Texas provide insights from their states.
Housing Task Force Co-Chairs
Housing Task Force Members
Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities of Acadiana
Past President, American Bar Association
Partner, Locke Lord LLP
Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
The Honorable Charles S. Crompton*
Judge, San Francisco Superior Court, Department 19
The Honorable Fern A. Fisher
Special Assistant to the Dean for Social Justice Initiatives at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.
Former Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, New York City Courts
Executive Director, The SoulFisher Ministries
Nevada Legal Services, Inc.
Cesiah Guadarrama Trejo
Associate State Director, 9-5 Colorado
Pro Bono Counsel, Legal Services of New York City
Executive Director, Kansas Legal Services
John G. Levi
LSC Board Chair
Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
The Honorable Lora Livingston*
Presiding Judge, 261st Civil District Court of Texas
Director Economic Advancement Program, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Jo-Ann M. Marzullo
Attorney, Ligris + Associates PC
Chair of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the American Bar Association
LSC Board Member
Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
Thomas W. Mitchell
Professor of Law and Co-Director, Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law, Texas A&M University School of Law
2020 MacArthur Fellow
Senior Research Associate, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute
Executive Director, A Way Home Washington
Raphael F. Ramos
Eviction Defense Project Director and Milwaukee Housing Unit Supervisor, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.
Director, Social Justice Sector, Techbridge
Professor, Harvard Law School
Executive Director, Iowa Legal Aid
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado Denver
Chief Executive Officer, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas
Executive Director, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
Director Public Policy, National Apartment Association
LSC Board Member
Professor Emerita, University of New Mexico School of Law
Legal Advocacy Director, Delaware Community Legal Aid Society
Secretary of the Board, Maryland Legal Aid
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Amazon