Affordable Housing Transactions Clinic (Harrison Institute)

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.

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