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Alumnus speaks Thursday on preserving public housing

Oct. 12, 2007

KALAMAZOO--The problem of homelessness and the possibility of using affordable public housing as a solution will be the topic when a longtime expert in the field visits Western Michigan University, Thursday, Oct. 18, and delivers a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium.

Lee Reno, WMU's Department of Political Science 2007 Alumni Achievement Award winner, will speak on "Public Housing: A $160 Billion Asset That Must Be Preserved." The Washington, D.C., lawyer will focus on the importance and urgency of preserving the nation's public housing stock.

His topic will focus on the need for affordable housing in the United States and public housing as one solution. With publicly owned rental units increasingly being demolished or sold to private owners over the past two decades, the availability of affordable housing has decreased.

"The topic of public housing would strike many people as obscure, but affordable housing and homelessness are increasingly severe public problems in the U.S.," Reno says. "Public housing is a national asset, in jeopardy, that presents one solution."

Questions will be taken during the event, and there is an open reception following in the Fetzer Center lobby.

Reno graduated from WMU in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He went on to serve in the Peace Corps in Liberia and earn a law degree from Howard University. In 1997, he became a founding member of Reno & Cavanaugh, a Washington, D.C., law firm that has been at the forefront of affordable housing and community development law and policy.

He has practiced extensively in the affordable housing field throughout his legal career, with special emphasis on public housing and rural housing, and continues to represent public housing authorities and is general counsel to the Housing Authority Insurance Group.

For more information, contact Dr. Susan Hoffmann, associate professor of political science, at susan.hoffmann@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5692.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

WMU News
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