Alan Houseman: Honoring 32 Years of Leadership

After 32 years of distinguished service as CLASP’s executive director, Alan Houseman retired at the end of 2013. He left behind a strong, vital organization that transformed the lives of millions of low-income people under his leadership.

When he joined CLASP in 1981, Alan led efforts to strengthen and preserve the Legal Services Corporation, which funds local legal services offices across the country to ensure low-income people have access to quality representation.  He also set CLASP on its course as a leading advocate for families and children—fighting for improved child support systems, federal welfare reform, expanded child care and early education, and comprehensive job training and education programs.

While the political climate in Washington, D.C. grew more contentious over time, Alan established CLASP’s reputation as a no-nonsense, nonpartisan voice with only one bias: what’s best for low-income people. That approach led to landmark policy victories in the movement for economic justice, including: transforming the child support system from a focus on recovery of state welfare assistance to a focus on family support; Early Head Start; the Child Care and Development Block Grant; the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including a $5 billion TANF emergency fund; and the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act. And recognizing that laws are only meaningful if they actually work for real people, he developed partnerships at the federal, state, and community levels to guide their implementation.

Alan’s numerous awards and honors include the National Equal Justice Award, the Coalition on Human Needs Heroes Award, and the Oberlin College Distinguished Achievement Award.  His legacy will stand the test of time.