Affordable Housing Gets Short Shrift
A recent Los Angeles Times article featured cities across California skirting or ignoring laws that require them to build affordable homes. In the City of Lynwood, Public Counsel and its partners, lead counsel Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, O'Melveny & Myers, California Affordable Housing Law Project, the Law Offices of Rebecca Thornton and forensic accounting firm Fulcrum Inquiry, have engaged in comprehensive enforcement efforts to enforce these redevelopment laws. Although the Lynwood Redevelopment Agency had taken in taxpayer dollars for many years, at the time Public Counsel and its partners filed the lawsuit, the Redevelopment Agency could not show even one affordable, covenanted home it had produced with these dollars. Under the settlement, Lynwood is required to construct a minimum of 91 units of affordable housing by 2015, to redeposit certain moneys into its affordable housing fund, and to pay in full all relocation assistance owed to our clients and to other previously displaced residents. The settlement of this lawsuit sends a message that housing advocates and pro bono law firms alike are watching, and willing to get involved when cities blatantly disregard the redevelopment laws.
"Especially during these difficult economic times, it is essential that local government agencies use their valuable redevelopment resources to provide housing opportunities for all, especially the most vulnerable members of our communities," said Marcellus McRae, a Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP partner who represented the plaintiffs as lead counsel.
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