Rethinking Rentals

With the rental population growing and the stock of affordable housing rentals in decline, “due to the demolition of older apartment buildings, the abandonment of foreclosed rental properties, and the conversion of rental units to sales condominiums,” John Kromer of the Fels Institute of Government identifies an anything-but-nascent problem in the housing field.

In Time for HUD to Rethink Rental, Kromer cites the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s 2009 report, Out of Reach 2009: Persistent Problems, New Challenges for Renters, that points to the rising costs of affordable, two-bedroom apartments and a two-decade decline in HUD rental units, and an institutional disconnect between HUD, offices within HUD, and funding for municipalities and housing authorities, in making his case for a pretty thoughtful intervention:

On a pilot-program basis, HUD should select a number of city governments that, each with the consent of their respective public housing authorities, would be eligible to receive in block-grant form the annual operating and capital funding that would ordinarily be awarded directly to the housing authority by HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing.

Although, under this proposal, a city’s municipal government would be the recipient of all of the consolidated block grant funding, the implementing agency for these activities could be a government agency, a housing or redevelopment authority, or both.

Successful execution could result in nationwide implementation, Kromer writes. Read his piece here.

Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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