Even though there is a growing demand for low-cost affordable housing in America, the supply is not keeping pace in most cities says Maxwell Drever. According to studies, more than 11 million renters spend more than 50% of their income on housing, which results in their compromising their lifestyle, nutrition, safety, healthcare, education, among other things. The gravity of the situation caused by federal government inaction and lack of adequate funding at the state and local levels is not lost on citizens who are now clamoring for ways to boost the supply of affordable housing. A few innovative solutions that merit closer attention:
Create Trusts for Affordable Housing
There are as many as 14 states without any funding for affordable housing at the city level. However, no laws are preventing the local administration from establishing them. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, New Jersey has announced plans for funding the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund after ignoring it for several years.
Municipal Bond Elections
While voters have always held mixed views about affordable housing. It is evident that local leaders see the reality of the housing crisis and want to solve it. However, Many of the measures proposed for addressing the housing issue involve municipal bonds that will permit local governments to allocate the funds raised to specific affordable housing projects, observes Maxwell Drever. A proposal by voters in Austin to issue a $250 million affordable housing bond for acquiring land for affordable housing development, providing rental assistance, maintenance, and programs facilitating homeownership is worth mentioning. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, approves a $10 million bond for building and maintaining more than 700 dwelling units, while approval for $652.8 million has been accord by Portland, Oregon, to build several thousand homes for low-income residents.
Incentives and Tax Breaks
Incentives by the state, in addition to the ones given by the federal government. Involve issuing credits to builders and developers to acquire, rehabilitate, or construct rental housing. eEspecially targeted to the low-income group. Incentive programs can encourage developers in the private sector to take more initiative in increasing the supply of affordable housing. It can achieve the economic development of urban centers.
A good example of housing development incentives can be in St. Paul, Minnesota, where property owners get tax breaks in return. For keeping 20% of their building’s units reserved for lower-income residents for 10 years. The rentals for different apartment sizes too are fix. In another innovative step, Anaheim, California, has given a $10 million vacant site to a developer for creating an affordable housing project valued at $52 million. A fifth of the units are for the homeless, according to Maxwell Drever.
Rather than leaving to the initiative of the local government and private developers to increase the supply of affordable housing. It can also be more productive for the local citizens to start demanding explanations from the city administration. Regarding what they are doing to improve the supply of affordable housing. Focusing on making communities more inclusive. And integrated with fair housing laws, inclusive zoning, and access to public transport can be effective. For improving economic and social wellbeing.