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Lawrence Mayor Lisa Larsen recently appointed Community Liaison Christina Gentry to serve on the city’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board.
Christina said she’s honored Larsen selected her and that on the advisory board she would be able to provide a narrative of her family own lived experience of what affordable housing means to Douglas County residents living below 200% of the poverty level.
“My experience has been shared once and publicly to the Douglas County Community Foundation’s conversation on housing, and a small audience also understands my personal journey as a graduate of Family Promise,” Christina said.
The board advises the City Commission on issues affecting affordable housing and supportive services in the community. It also provides guidance in overseeing and facilitating the purpose of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Providing safe and affordable housing for all Douglas County residents is one key issue area of the Douglas County Community Health Plan.
Housing affordability and safety can have a tremendous impact on health. When residents struggle to afford a place to live, that financial strain makes it harder to make other healthy choices such as eating a healthy diet or seeing a doctor when you're sick.
Christina believes a less-understood piece of the affordable housing conversation is past and present zoning ordinances with measures that might have created forms of institutional discrimination.
“It’s a type of discrimination that occurs when a policy seems neutral, but in actuality affects our most under-served residents in a negative way,” she said. “My voice on the board serves as one for the community in which I serve.”