How Democrats Can Fix the Affordable Housing Crisis

January 23, 2021

Several of the advocates and researchers that Shelterforce spoke with want to see the federal government not only fund the $70 billion or more backlog in public housing capital expenditures, but make a real commitment to funding and constructing housing for very low-income Americans that the open market will never serve.

“The [dollar amounts] are so vast,” says James DeFilippis, a professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. “But we are also in a moment when the federal government can borrow money for nothing. Are we ever going to be in a moment where borrowing will be so cheap again?”

He continues, “One of the old mantras of my field is to make no small plan because they have no magic to stir people’s blood and probably won’t get built anyway. The inequity in our housing and our cities has never been more naked than it has been in the last decade. To think the way to respond is to just put more money into things as we have always done them is to not understand the scale of the problem.”

Shelterforce, January 22, 2021

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