Harrison Institute for Housing & Community Development
The Harrison Institute provides legal services that are essential for political and economic democracy. The housing and community development clinic works to empower low-income individual and community group clients, and in so doing, provide law students with a broad vision of what lawyers should be doing in low-income communities. We pursue these goals in the context of transactional projects that engage our clients and our students in:
- Interdisciplinary services. Law is necessary but not sufficient to overcome powerlessness and poverty. Our students learn to tackle legal and nonlegal economic and organizational problems – to become problem-solvers, not just legal technicians.
- Tenant ownership. In 2006, we represented 17 buildings at various stages of tenant ownership. Our students provided them with transactional services to purchase, finance, rehabilitate and manage a multifamily coop or condo, and they taught the law and skills to resident boards of directors.
- Affordable housing preservation. These buildings preserve 800 units of affordable housing and involve $80 million in development financing. Over five years, the numbers are 1,500 units and $140 million in financing. At this level, we are a leading nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the District of Columbia, and a national leader among law school clinics that work in community development.
- Entrepreneurship. Through both training and direct business assistance, we are developing entrepreneurship as a strategy to create new businesses and the jobs that come with them and to build the economy of low-income communities.