Housing

Housing matters. A stable, quality, affordable home is a foundation for so many other parts of life. How do we bring it in reach for everyone?

Why We Must Build

We can’t build our way out of the housing crisis . . . but we won’t get out without building.
A simple drawing of a balanced scale has a blue house labeled "before inclusionary requirements" on one side and a red house labeled "after inclusionary requirements" on the other side. Text above reads Do inclusionary housing requirements make housing prices go up for everyone else? No! followed by discussion. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Do inclusionary housing requirements make housing prices go up for everyone else?

A: No, they do not. Market-rate developers are business people. They charge as much as the market will bear. When housing prices go up . . .
Four charts and graphs illustrate how foreclosure rates are still higher than they were pre-crisis, and how recovery is slower in some neighborhoods. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Isn’t the foreclosure crisis over?

A: Not for everyone. Even after significant recovery, most of the country still has record high levels of . . .

Using the Wrong Tools to Build Affordable Housing

Along with most Rooflines readers, I believe that having some portion of a community’s housing as long term or permanently affordable is a desirable policy goal. That said, though, I’ve found myself wondering what...

Making Mixed-Income Developments Work

A single development with an intentional income mix involves very specific challenges—both in its design and its management.
Two young students wear smocks as they paint in school.

Build Mixed-Income Housing–But Not in Isolation

A focus on housing connected to education and wellness will be needed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Can San Francisco Get Mixed-Income Public Housing Redevelopment Right?

The HOPE SF program is aiming to explicitly avoid many of the problems mixed-income public housing redevelopments have faced, to create a truly inclusive process.

It’s All About Choice

Rather than just developing homes for sale, City of Lakes CLT lets buyers pick houses to bring into the land trust.
A white three-level building.

Don’t Build Mixed-Income Communities, Buy Them

Building when you could buy is inefficient—and contributes to economic segregation.

A Tale of Two Markets: Affordability and the State of the Nation’s Housing in...

For first-time homebuyers with good credit, stable employment, and savings for a down payment, buying a home is more affordable than it has been in decades. For everyone else, however, lower home prices have been a disaster.

Thinking Gray—And Positive

When I think about all the boards and committees I’ve served on, the clean-up days and neighborhood association events and protests I’ve attended, I picture a lot of gray. Not skies, but hair. Older...

Memphis’s Unwelcome News

Hanna Rosin has caused quite a stir with her dramatically titled Atlantic Monthly article American Murder Mystery. (For the record, we writers rarely get to write our own headlines, so don’t hold her accountable...

PETRA Perspectives: National Alliance of HUD Tenants

The National Alliance of HUD Tenants weighs the merits and drawbacks of the PETRA proposal.
HUD Secretary Julian Castro poses in a formal headshot in front of an American flag.

Interview with HUD Secretary Julian Castro

Shelterforce got a chance to speak with Secretary Julian Castro about some of the current ways in which he’s working to make HUD a force for good in people’s lives, and what steps there are left to be taken.

PETRA Perspectives: National People’s Action—Housing Justice Campaign

The history of well-intentioned housing plans from HUD and Congress has public housing residents across the country scared to death that they could lose their homes through PETRA.

Who Owns Our Neighborhoods?

Outside investors are buying up foreclosed properties in Oakland, California, at a rate that not only has Oakland residents uneasy, but has also raised national concerns about an unchecked transfer of wealth taking place...

Are the Kids All Right? Austin Is Asking

Recently here on Rooflines, Tiffany Eng wrote about Oakland’s challenges in “family friendly” planning. Here in Austin, we're facing the same challenges.Lower birth rates, better public education options outside...

PETRA Perspectives: PolicyLink

As the merits and flaws of PETRA are being debated, PolicyLink offers its list of desired outcomes for poor people and economically distressed communities.
The cover of Shelterforce's 162nd issue, Preservation or Privatization.

PETRA Perspectives: Congresswoman Maxine Waters

While PETRA is flawed, it is also the only serious attempt any administration has made to preserve public housing in quite some time.

Does Public Housing Have a Future?

Everybody hates public housing, except the low-income people who live there and the people on the long waiting lists to get in. After years of neglect, the Obama administration wants to save public housing for future generations. Let's let them.