Creating Affordable Housing

With Justice Matters leading the way, voters in Lawrence approved a 1/20th of a penny in sales tax to an affordable housing trust fund that is expected to raise $10 Million in the next 10 years. Here’s how we did it: 

  • Lawrence had a clear lack of affordable housing for decades. Studies in 1993 and 2001 demonstrated the need for at least 4,000 affordable housing units. Yet, for nearly 30 years, the city of Lawrence and Douglas County failed to act. 


  • During our listening process in fall 2014, community members told stories of their struggle finding a safe, affordable place to live in Lawrence. Justice Matters members voted to act to make sure our struggling friends, families, and neighbors could move from “crisis mode” to building hope and new futures. 


  • At the 2015 Nehemiah Action, city council members approved a $100,000 pilot project- a three-building development that will remain permanently affordable. These homes currently hold 18 people in three families. 


  • In 2016, the city commission approved $300,000 to the trust fund for the 2017-2018 fiscal years. Yet, the project needed a sustainable revenue stream.


  • In 2017, Justice Matters was successful in getting a 1/20th of a penny sales tax for affordable housing on the ballot, and helped secure the votes needed to win by contacting more than 14,000 voters. 


  • On November 7th, 2017, voters in Lawrence officially approved the ballot measure to provide a sustainable revenue stream for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. This 1/20th of a penny in sales tax will generate roughly one million dollars each year over the next ten years!


  • Justice Matters maintains a representative on the Affordable Housing Advisory Board to help ensure that these funds are put to good use, assisting those who need it most in the best way possible.