In the News

  • Mount Laurel Affordable Housing Decision Made Dreams Come True

    It took a while for Sandra Rios to let her son play outside at Ethel R. Lawrence Homes, an affordable housing complex in affluent Mount Laurel Township. Memories of Camden will do that to you. “It took me a long time to let go,” says Rios. Now, her son Zaibian, 12, and daughter Delilah, 9, can run free on green lawns, shoot hops or play baseball. It’s a common suburban scene many of us take for granted, but for Rios and her children, it was decades in the making. Her escape route out of Camden was paved by the 1972 New Jersey Superior Court ruling that found Mount Laurel’s zoning was unconstitutional because it kept people such as Rios out.

    Published in The Star-Ledger on April 22nd, 2012 Fair Share Housing Development | View PDF

  • Mount Laurel low-income housing is a success story

    The Ethel R. Lawrence Homes are what New Jersey would look like if the rules were written by the poor. An alternative to warehousing of people in urban public housing. A New Jersey not segregated by race, ethnicity and income. Where kids are safe and score as well on state tests as suburban neighbors, defying cruel stereotypes about poor and minority children.

    Published in The Star-Ledger on July 25th, 2011 Fair Share Housing Development | View PDF

  • COAH Face-off Not Nearly Over

    His life’s work is under fire, if not siege. Again. Peter O’Connor, the lawyer whose eloquent advocacy of affordable housing is enshrined in the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel decisions, sees a “knockout attempt” coming. So he’s already counterpunching.

    Published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on February 16th, 2010 Fair Share Housing Development | View PDF

  • Opening doors in New Jersey

    I bet Ethel R. Lawrence is doing the happy dance up in heaven right about now. Because nearly 40 years after the lifelong Mount Laurel resident sued for the right to affordable housing, Gov. Corzine truly made her dream a reality.

    Published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on July 22nd, 2008 Fair Share Housing Development | View PDF

  • Low-income housing wins a beachhead in the ‘burbs

    Nestled in the heart of Mount Laurel, near Philadelphia, the Ethel Lawrence Homes are one of the few places in America where affordable housing has been built specifically for poor people — mostly blacks and Hispanics — in an affluent community. It took three decades of litigation, legislation and financial wizardry to construct these apartments, and the last vacancies were filled this year. But the conflict continues. Some longtime residents remain angry, and activists voice frustration that more apartments haven’t been built elsewhere.

    Published in The Seattle Times on November 14th, 2004 Fair Share Housing Development | View PDF

  • The Affordable Housing Complex That Works

    While other affordable housing developments cater to residents who earn about 50 percent of the area’s median income, in accordance with state standards, the residents in the 100 townhouses at Ethel Lawrence may earn as little as 10 percent of the median income, or as much as 80 percent. The idea was to create a truly integrated community in suburbia, an idea that was surprisingly revolutionary for a state with some of the most stringent non-discrimination zoning laws in the nation.

    Published in The New York Times on November 25th, 2001 Fair Share Housing Development | View PDF