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Zoning and Land-Use Laws

Tools to Create Housing and Services for Our Clients

By Raun J. Rasmussen

Advocacy in the areas of zoning and land-use policy holds the potential for achieving wide-ranging benefits for low-income communities. Such efforts often become protracted struggles and may involve clashes with politically powerful developers, but they also offer unparalleled opportunities to work cooperatively with clients and community groups. Several states attempt to promote "inclusionary zoning," with varying degrees of success. Federal civil rights laws, including the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, offer further tools, as do environmental laws. At different times advocates for low-income clients may use these approaches to stop developments that will decimate communities and to promote the development of low-income housing.

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