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Panel at Lawrence library to address housing problems and solutions

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Local housing experts will discuss rental problems and the shortage of affordable housing options during a panel Thursday at the Lawrence Public Library.

Panelists will “share their expertise about feasible policy solutions including inclusive screening practices, banning housing discrimination based on source of income, and tenants’ rights to counsel,” according to a news release from the library.

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“In 2020, our community identified affordable housing as one of our top three issues,” Marc Veloz, community resources specialist at LPL, said in the release. “It hasn’t gone away and folks are eager to find a solution to this crisis.”

Here’s the lineup of panelists, according to the library’s event page:

Gabi Sprague, Douglas County Human Services program manager
Mariel Ferreiro, Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority landlord liaison 
Savannah Fergus, Lawrence Community Shelter housing stabilization case manager
Gabby Boyle, Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center 
Kincaid Dennett, executive director of People’s Owned and Operated Collective Housing

“Renters in Lawrence currently have no protections from discriminatory screening at the city level,” Sprague said in LPL’s news release. “Community members are finding themselves screened out of housing due to a variety of requirements including credit score, criminal offenses older than seven years, or even a lack of what a given landlord perceives to be strong character references. Folks who experience discrimination in the application process too often remain inadequately housed or become homeless due to lack of protections.”

The panel, geared toward “anyone interested in connecting with people who seek compassionate solutions to this crisis,” is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 8) in the library auditorium, 707 Vermont St. A Q&A session will follow the discussion.

The event will also be livestreamed via Zoom. Visit this link to join the meeting.

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