Policy

The rules of the game—and the attitudes of the players—have an enormous effect on community development work at all levels. Here we look at some of the conversations about how to shift that policy for the better.

Going Statewide to Boost ADU Development

ADUs are typically regulated at the local level, but advocates argue statewide legislation is what’s actually needed to get to scale. California has been aggressively leading the way.
US Congress on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. The housing portion of the Build Back Better plan likely won't happen.

What Happened to Those Build Back Better Housing Investments?

Build Back Better would have made huge new investments in housing. But most of what it promised isn’t going to happen. Would any housing plan have a chance of making it through Congress?

ADUs: Laws and Uses, Do’s and Don’ts

As ADUs gain national attention, cities are searching for the best ways to legalize their development and encourage construction.

ADUs: Defined, Disambiguated, and Debated

Accessory dwelling units are being touted as a way to provide more affordable rental units for tenants, and additional monthly income for homeowners. But some cities allow them, others don’t. So what are ADUs exactly?

Putting in the Labor to Support Affordable Homes

With notoriously high housing costs in San Francisco pushing workers across occupations out of the city and into long commutes, the value of alliances between housing advocates and labor organizers are becoming increasingly clear.

What Can Be Done When LIHTC Affordability Restrictions Expire?

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program has helped create more than 3 million affordable units across the country. But if something isn’t done soon, thousands of those homes could be lost forever as affordability periods expire.

What if Vouchers Aren’t the (Only) Answer?

Rather than continue to find ways to make Section 8 work better, some affordable housing and tenant advocates argue the federal government should instead invest heavily in addressing the affordable housing shortage at its root.

Does RAD Privatize Public Housing?

How exactly does RAD work and why is there a raging debate over whether it’s putting tenants’ rights and housing affordability in peril?

Philly’s 1970s Fight to Revive Rent Control

As rent control reemerges as a strategy to address an intense housing crisis, we go back 50 years to examine the lessons learned from past struggles in Philadelphia.

Doing Their Duty: Should Fannie, Freddie Invest More in Underserved Markets?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under a congressional mandate to improve investment in three specific kinds of housing markets—but Congress didn’t say by how much, and advocates say they could be doing far more.

Afghan Refugees Face an American Housing Crisis

Resettlement agencies have been racing to house tens of thousands of Afghan refugees in communities across the U.S., but high housing costs and a shortage of available units is making it more difficult than ever.

What’s the Best Way to Judge How Well a City’s Housing Policies Improve Health?

CityHealth revamps its housing medal criteria, shifts away from inclusionary zoning to flexible funding and tenant protections. “We realized there is no singular policy intervention that can address the whole of affordable housing.”
Young female volunteer in mask gives an elderly man boxes with food near his house. Quarantined, isolated.

Blame Policies, Not Places, for Poor Health

Shifting blame from people to ZIP codes is not enough to create healthy communities. Here’s how to do better.

Minor Defendants: Kids Are Being Named in Evictions

When landlords name minor children in eviction filings, the negative effects could haunt them years later.

As Rent Relief Efforts Drag on, Treasury is Redistributing Funds

“This is not about reward and punishment … It’s about speeding up effective relief for families in need of housing security and eviction protection.”

Making Inclusionary Housing Programs a Force for Racial Equity

Three city administrators go beyond the press releases to talk about what it really takes to make an inclusionary housing requirement serve households of color.

How to Make Universal Vouchers Actually Work

If Congress gave the Housing Choice Voucher program enough money to serve every income-eligible applicant, what other reforms would be needed so every voucher recipient could find a decent home in a suitable area?

New Public Housing? HUD Has Found a Way

For decades, the number of public housing units across the U.S. has been shrinking. But within the limits of the law and funding, HUD has figured out a way to get back some of the housing that has been lost.

On Housing, Democrats Sure Look Like Republicans

At one time, the Democratic Party stood for policies that successfully addressed the country’s chronic housing crisis. What changed, and why?
A realtor opening a house for viewing.

Realtors Reckon with Race

A new generation of real estate agents are aiming for meaningful change in an industry most famous for championing and enforcing segregation.