Six Steps for Housing 2025

Community Manager's note

2025? YES, that's how deep the policy stagnation has become as blow after blow have dashed hopes for real change in 2022. Facing a divided Congress in the 2023-2024 session, transformative change is unlikely. However laying the foundations for transformative changes following the 2024 elections, can make a difference.

In fact, stimulus payments likely ended up fueling the housing affordability crisis that put stable housing out of reach for ordinary families.

And so The Pandemic recession morphed into the Pandemic Inflation. And so, despite the good employment and GDP numbers, ordinary middle class folks are feeling the pinch in their everyday lives.

Pressed by discontent, the FIRED industry has decided to fight the pinch by triggering another housing bubble recession. That's OK, they say, it won't be so bad on finance. Just people who live in housing.

Three housing related recessions in just 12 years underscores the fact that the root of this recurring cycle is a broken housing policy strategy. And the "The mysterious mad man with his hand on the lever/Don't seem to never ever want to let you off"

I invite you to join RHINO in exploring these policy options that will transform the rich-get-richer strategy of the FIRED industry into a system of affordable housing as a right.

Explainers

The evolution of Federal Housing Policy: The 5 legged stool: Public Housing, Private subsidized housing. Housing Vouchers. Homeowner assistance. Housing production.

https://time.com/5826392/coronavirus-housing-history/

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL34591

https://ace-usa.org/blog/research/research-housing-policy/the-history-of-housing-policy-in-the-united-states/

"Why Fewer American Children are living in poverty." This NYT podcast outlines a myriad of ways in which enlightened and accidental anti-poverty programs have made a dramatic difference in the lives of poor families. The one missing piece? Universal Housing Vouchers. Rental housing is the last "free market" commodity. The FIRED industry needs regulation, not just more money, if housing is to become affordable.

Comprehensive Planning vs. Market Socialism:

March 15, 2021. Shelterforce. Did the Comprehensive Community Initiatives of the 1990s, early 2000s Bring About Change? "Once a must-have for foundations, Comprehensive Community Initiatives found mixed success.

Six transformative housing policies for 2025

After high hopes for a progressive Congress were washed up on the beach of Lake SineManchin, housing advocates shifted to tinkering with the current housing issues. For those who have lived thru periods of policy stagnation under Presidents Clinton ("school uniforms") and Obama ("the beer summit"), the prospect of another round of "small ball policies seems unproductive. In the arena of "affordable housing," Biden's latest policy statement hands the keys to the same crowd that masterminded the last two housing crises in 2008 and 2020: the Federal Reserve, Fannie and Freddie, and the homebuilders.

Having missed the opportunity presented by the Pandemic Recession, housing advocates' next bite at the housing policy apple won't come until 2025, the year after the next presidential election. To make progress in 2025, advocates need to begin now to lay the foundations for transformative changes in Federal housing policy.

  1. Universal Housing Vouchers-simple to explain, easy to implement, some changes needed but, UHV can transform the chaos of the current Federal housing policies and they can be a lynch pin for other housing policy innovations.

  2. Green New Deal for Public Housing-count me among the skeptics, but times change. Historically public (social) housing became a haven for African American households and quickly became stigmatized, paternalistic, and suffered from disinvestment. GNDPH can shake off that stigma by being the basis for 21st century energy programs.

  3. New Homeownership Models

  • End of the American Dream?

  • Tenant Opportunity to Purchase

  • Just cause (no cut) lease provisions

  1. Local Funding Sources based on bond financing, not tax abatements. Easing Zoning restrictions. What Federal policies can support local initiatives

  • Jul 15, 2022, MarketPlace. The U.S. housing shortage has doubled in less than a decade, report finds

  • What Does It Take to Get ADUs Built?

  • SEPTEMBER 22, 2022, Next City, Housing In Brief: A Colorado Ballot Initiative Could Change How Affordable Housing Is Funded. "This November, Colorado residents will vote on a ballot referendum that would direct a small portion of state income tax to new affordable housing, The Journal Record reports. Proposition 123 would set aside 0.1% of the state’s income tax revenue to local governments with the goal of increasing affordable housing stock by 3% in each jurisdiction. It would also go to programs to help teachers, nurses and other workers secure their first home and fund eviction defense and rent supplements, The Denver Post reports. The campaign estimates the proposition would set aside $300 million a year and could lead to 170,000 new units over 20 years. That falls short of current needs – according to census data, the state had a deficit of 93,000 to 216,000 units in 2020 - but it could establish a model for funding housing going forward."

  • August 29, 2022. WVXU, Cincinnati's Affordable Housing Trust Fund is ready for use four years after being established.

  • September 6, 2022. WOSU. Voters to decide on $1.5 billion bond issue that includes money to expand affordable housing. "The City of Columbus is proposing a $1.5 billion bond issue on the November ballot that includes $200 million to expand affordable housing. It is four times more than what the city proposed in 2019. Supporters and developers said it’s a crucial step to address the demand for affordable housing. But more work needs to get done to make it happen. Two years ago, the city borrowed a lot of money to build more than 1,300 affordable housing units. At the time, before the COVI-19 pandemic, more than 50,000 people were using half their income to pay rent or make mortgage payments. Officials have said the $50 million is not enough. But they say it was a good test run."

  1. Local energy regulations


  1. New Federal Housing Finance System

Then, we'll look at ways that advocates, activists and organizers can mobilize today's anger/frustration/guilt into a 2025 strategy that starts now where people live (morally and geographically).

The FIRED industry has control of the media and a 100 year headstart, so change agents need to begin now, before the next opportunity for transformative change slips past us.

We're changing! Demographically, geographically, emotionally. What tactics are necessary to meet the populous in 2025?

  • Stop fighting last year's wars; stop patching broken systems

  • Will we need a crisis to "unfreeze" change space?

  • The power of movements to make change. Movements aren't coalitions, think networks.

  • Roles of advocates, activists, and organizers

  • Give away short term victories to build more equity

  • Who is that mysterious madman?

You can help by sharing your comments, questions and suggestions.