WSU to moderate civic conversations on affordable housing

By Brenda Alling, WSU Vancouver

LongVANCOUVER, Wash. – A Washington State University Vancouver professor and her students will moderate a series of public forums in the region about challenges and opportunities related to affordable housing.

Carolyn Long and students trained in her new course, “Civil Discourse in a Time of Incivility,” will partner with WSU’s Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service to conduct the forums March 24-April 1. They are part of the new Initiative for Public Deliberation, which seeks to build constructive dialogue and community engagement around regional priorities.

Affordable housing was selected based on results of a survey conducted by the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington. Participants do not need any expertise in the topic, and Long said it is important that a diversity of interests be represented at the forums.

Find locations, a link to registration information and more details at

Long, who directs the initiative, said her student moderators will keep the discussion focused on specific policy responses and the trade-offs and unintended consequences that result from each action. There will be time for reflection as facilitators try to discover points of common ground and areas where further discussion is necessary.

The options to be discussed include how to encourage development, expand affordable housing and eligibility for assistance, and reduce regulatory burdens.

The project will culminate in a summary report from the forums that will be made available to the public.