Andrew Greenlee, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
Andrew Greenlee, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

Understanding Past Mistakes to Prepare for a Better Future

Andrew Greenlee, an associate professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, is an expert in low-income housing policy and federal low-income housing support programs. His work explores household-level and collective dynamics of residential mobility and neighborhood change, with a particular focus on forced displacement due to factors such as urban renewal, eviction, and climate change. Greenlee and his colleague Michelle D. Layser, assistant professor of law at Illinois, recently published a paper that examines how housing instability threatens to undermine the country’s public health response. As more households in the U.S. were faced with the threat of eviction this past year when they couldn’t make rent, some made the difficult decision to move in with friends or relatives. This unfortunately increased the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19. Researchers Greenlee and Layser suggest policy recommendations such as a new civil right to legal counsel in evictions, providing direct rental assistance to tenants and mortgage payment assistance for homeowners to better prepare the U.S. for future economic recessions. “Part of our motivation here is to think about deeper, more structural change, particularly with federal policy and the way they approach the use of federal resources to help restructure housing issues for the long run,” shared Greenlee. “This is about broader, more resilient housing support systems that should serve us as a nation moving forward into the future. It’s also a part of an existing, invisible housing crisis that predates the pandemic. People associate homelessness with people being on the street. But it’s also people who are doubled up, sleeping on people’s couches, or living in spaces that are not intended to be used as permanent dwellings. Part of the goal here is to create some visibility for those circumstances and to start thinking again about long-term solutions.”

Andrew Greenlee, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
Andrew Greenlee, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
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