We are currently in the middle of a housing affordability crisis. There is a huge shortage of affordable housing options available for low income families in need. There are many americans that are cost-burdened by paying 50+ percent of their income on housing, as well as a shortage of available affording housing units for extremely low income families.
The shortage of affordable housing is due to many reasons. One issue is that affordable housing developments don’t have enough government funding. That, along with a lack of policy support are the reason that it doesn’t make sense for lawmakers to put the right amount of credence into it because it costs more to build with lack of funding than what the return is. However, history has proven that policies do work and lead to solutions, it’s all a matter of obtaining and implementing those policies.
Unfortunately there is likely no singular legislation that will fix the problem. It is going to be a series of smaller changes in order to achieve the end result. Some ways that the affordability housing can be corrected is through removing parking minimums, being able to renovate old buildings, inclusionary zoning, and more. There are many ways that this housing crisis can be fixed, it’s just a matter of finding ways to actually implement and follow these changes. People should also look at how other towns are dealing with the housing issue.
Denver is making innovative strides by turning vacant apartments into instant an instant affordable housing option
This involves people actually spending the money necessary in order to reach the housing goals that they are trying to achieve.In the beginning of 2016, Denver created a $10 million Revolving Affordable Housing Loan Fund in order to increase the financial assistance for affordable housing projects. This was a major success that it has increased its’ property tax and is expecting to raise over $150 million of revenue for the city over the next 10 years. This has inspired other cities to create affordable housing funds but Denver was the pioneer of this solution.
One of the most helpful programs to come from this is the FasTracks program which aims to create affordable housing near the city’s new train line. Another amazing program to come from this fund is the “buy-down” program which is a flexible program that covers the difference between market rate and affordable rent in order to make more attainable units to the housing market. When you invest the money necessary to fix the housing crisis you will see results.
Cleveland creates a nonprofit in order to give lifelong artists assistance to own their home
When you are an artist it is hard to live off of the money you earn, especially as the rent and property value continuously increase. This puts a huge strain on the creative class to afford housing, especially when they live in expensive areas. Due to this new problem, this has led to new programs to be created for public assistance. Northeast Shores, a local nonprofit organization made a program designed to assist artists in affordable housing while still being able to focus on work.
Northeast Shores created the Glencove, which was a six-unit housing development. This is a housing development that offers artists a bonus equity for every month that they pay rent. The bonus equity is no longer available once $10,000 cap over the course of 10 years has been reached. This helps artists obtain the money they need to get a new home.
Another beneficial program to the community was the Ballot Box program. This allows for communication between the community and artists. This gives residents the ability to voice their opinion on how to spend local art funding with the choice of projects and topics.
Minneapolis has developed a way to have sustainable living while being on a budget
Minneapolis has made a complex called the Rose, which is a new 90-unit mixed-income building that not only is a green design of living, but is also a way to have sustainable, cost-saving housing. This project was quite an investment, costing $36 million in 2015 which has energy efficient roofs through solar panels, chemical-free building materials, and more!
While this was an expense building compared to other affordable housing buildings, it is considered an investment that will pay off over time. Another goal of this development is to have people learn from the project in order to find other ways that they can create affordable housing.
Philadelphia has created a complex to provide a safe and thriving community
This is a type of community-oriented building was skillfully designed as part of the Paseo Verde project. This was situated specifically to be in a convenient location near a major transit area, so you have access to many places within the city and even outside the city! Similar to the Rose in Minneapolis it is a huge investment of $48 million in order to see a pay off over the next few years. This also models the rose because it promotes healthy living and energy efficiency with green living. However, this is innovative in it’s own ways because there is a health clinic, pharmacy, and supportive service center within the building which is run by the Public Health Management Corporation. This service was offered through the Association of Puerto Ricans on the March.
Many other cities have modeled community houses from the Philadelphia Paseo Verde Project. San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta have all taken notes and created housing based on the success of Philadelphia.
Salt Lake City is combating the homeless issue by working on housing first and foremost
Salt Lake City has been the first city to pioneer the homeless issue that plagues Utah. This approach has shown excellent results in reducing the rate of chronic homelessness while providing housing for residents that need assistance.
A unique aspect about this housing first approach is the fact is based on first finding home, not looking at the individual in the homes. Residents are not required to pass drug tests or any other requirements when they receive housing.
Due to the fact that there was such a success with this approach, more and more money is being dedicated to the affordable housing issue. An additional $30 million has been dedicated to providing affordable housing for extremely low income/no income residents.
This has inspired other cities because of the fact that there was so much success. New York City has implemented Gateway Housing which offers transitional units to homeless individuals.
Overall, as the affordable housing crisis worsens, many cities are looking for ways to relieve that problem. However, the consistent tone that is seen that if you invest into it, then it is good decision for the community and the affordable housing issue itself.