In a world of limited public funding, how can we substantially increase the number of households benefitting from stable, affordable housing? A new paper “Housing More People More Effectively through a Dynamic Housing Policy,” by Jeffrey Lubell, Director of Housing and Community Initiatives at Abt Associates, explores several innovative policy options that could help meet the housing needs of more households within current federal and state funding levels.
In the paper, produced for the Bipartisan Policy Center, Lubell suggests moving away from the current transaction-focused approach to housing policy to one that embraces a broader time horizon and considers how circumstances change over time at the property, household, and neighborhood levels. The paper provides possible solutions to how the affordability of properties can be secured over their full lifecycles, how housing strategies can respond to the changing needs of households over time and how these strategies might respond to and take advantage of the dynamics of neighborhood change.
The paper explores several strategies for accomplishing this, including:
- Shared equity homeownership – a cost-effective approach for expanding access to homeownership for low- and moderate-income families.
- Lifecycle underwriting – a way of structuring the finances of a multifamily affordable rental property that help it remain viable without new infusions of equity or subsidy over a 50-year lifecycle.
- Family self-sufficiency – a set of policies designed to help families in subsidized housing increase their earnings and build assets.
- Eviction prevention – short-term assistance designed to help people in crisis remain stably housed.
- Universal design – development standards that ensure buildings can serve people of different ages and abilities. In addition, Lubell looks at ways to preserve and expand affordable housing in neighborhoods experiencing gentrification pressures and explores the idea of “portable mortgages,” which allow families to take their mortgages with them when they move, helping them build more equity over time.