Published: Aug. 24, 2020
Professor Deborah Cantrell

University of Colorado Law School Professor and Director of Clinical Programs Deborah Cantrell is a recipient of Boulder County Public Health’s 2020 Healthy Community Award. The award recognizes her supervision of Colorado Law's Sustainable Community Development Clinic, which played a leading role in developing recently passed legislation that supports mobile homeowners in Colorado.

In June, Gov. Jared Polis signed Mobile Home Park Residents Opportunity to Purchase (HB20-1201) and Mobile Home Park Act Updates (HB20-1196) into law, which provide critical support for mobile homeowners across the state.

The team of student attorneys in the Sustainable Community Development Clinic crafted the legislation on behalf of a coalition that included mobile homeowners, public health offices, and housing and anti-poverty advocates. The team drafted new statutory provisions that provide mobile homeowners protections related to utilities billing, created new anti-retaliation measures, and put in place restrictions on the kinds of rules and regulations that a park owner can require of mobile homeowners. 

"I am incredibly proud of the sustained, detailed, and creative work of student attorneys McKenzie Brandon ('21), Diana Jenkins ('21), James Kadolph ('21), and Cam Netherland ('20)," Cantrell said. "They kept up their work full steam even when the pandemic closed down the state capitol. They exemplify Colorado Law’s commitment to change for our communities."

The student attorneys also drafted legislation to create a mandatory framework that provides mobile homeowners with a path to purchasing their mobile home park if a park owner decides to sell or transfer ownership of the park. Colorado joins only 18 states with such legislation.

Mobile home communities are one of the most important sources of affordable housing in the state, Cantrell explained. They are particularly critical sources of housing for people who do not qualify for subsidized housing because of the range of restrictions placed on housing subsidies, such as citizenship status.

The Sustainable Community Development Clinic is Colorado Law's newest legal clinic, formed in fall 2016. The clinic considers the role of sustainable development as reflecting commitments to social justice and to reducing poverty. Colorado Law offers nine legal clinics, all of which address critical community needs. In these courses, second- and third-year law students provide free legal services to clients on actual cases, which range from legal matters related to youth and families (Juvenile and Family Law Clinic) to the preservation of tribal sovereignty and Native lands (American Indian Law Clinic) to providing pro bono transactional legal services for entrepreneurs and small businesses (Entrepreneurial Law Clinic).