The nation’s affordable housing crisis can be significantly reduced with the Congressional passage of a one-time housing bill authorizing big funding for public housing construction.
So says a report just issued by the Washington-based National League of Cities called Homeward Bound: The Road to Affordable Housing.
Drawing upon the insights of public officials and housing experts at the federal, state, and local level, the report additionally recommends a greater dialogue at the local level with nearby residents who may be opposed to a housing project well before its development.
In a statement, Muriel Bowser, noting both an ongoing decline in affordable housing options across the country and the aging stock of current public housing, said: “The time is now for local leaders and the federal government to make bold investments that will ensure our residents have access to a safe and stable home.”
Bowser is the chairperson of the National League of Cities’ housing taskforce and the Mayor of Washington, D.C.
All-inclusive federal legislation, continues the report, should also entail a local housing trust fund, rental subsidies, and some rent control.
Cities and municipalities involved in annexation projects should additionally be required in those efforts to commit to a certain percentage of affordable housing space, as well as such community amenities as parks and grocery stores.
The report additionally recommends fixing “inequities in housing development and the housing finance system,” while also supporting “scalable innovation and financing for cities, towns, and villages.”
Recognizing the resistance to such large-scale federal spending programs, the report pointedly recommends that a sweeping Congressional housing bill should also have a 10-year lifespan.
The report further recommends that $30 billion in emergency funding be spent “to address the immediate crisis.”
Of that amount, $15 billion would go for a public housing capital program, and $5 billion each for the Community Development Block Grant program, the National Housing Trust Fund, and the federal Home Investment Partnership Program.
By Garry Boulard
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