The Democratic Presidential primaries are bringing a previously ignored issue front and center: the needs of renters. The rise of a coalition of renters advocating for policies that increase the housing supply and moving the conversation away from demand-side approaches. As each candidate begins pushing for their chosen policies, this coalition can be an important force for good policy that complemented the newfound interest in the issue.
News and Commentary
Alex Baca, writing for GGW, explains what is preventing the DC community from having productive conversations about gentrification. She argues that the local media needs to do a better job of asking tough questions and trying to answer big systemic questions about why DC is changing.
The City Observatory wrote an A-Z list for the causes of gentrification. These include good things like “D for Declining Crime Rates” to harmful ones like “Z for Zoning”.
A Florida state bill focused on affordability mandates passed its last House committee vote. It would remove the authority of localities to impose affordable housing requirements on new developments.
Michael Gibson says that San Francisco needs some radical housing policy changes to prevent further decline. Specifically, reforming the San Francisco Planning Commission, adding a land-value tax, and easing restrictions on experimental housing projects can all help.
Pew gives the history of a Denver housing project that attempts to use a mixture of public and private funds to help low-income renters. Despite promises of helping 400 Denver residents, only three are currently benefiting from the program.
While Elizabeth Warren’s housing reform bill does some great work in incentivizing localities to reform their broken housing policies, it also has some bad flaws. For instance, its foreclosure requirements are unnecessarily anti-renter and its incentives for localities to institute rent control will reduce housing supply in the long run.
Joe Cortright explains why increasing market rate housing supply helps affordability for everyone. As new housing gets added to the market, the units that are replaced move down to a lower price point.
A recent poll of Missoula, Montana shows large support for a series of housing reform efforts. Specific plans include the city purchasing a plot of land to develop new housing, changing zoning regulations to boost the housing supply, and establishing a housing “trust fund”.