Today, there is an increased demand for affordable housing. However, there is decreased housing supply in the cities in the United States. Over 8 million homeowners and 11 million renters spend almost a huge chunk of their earnings in housing. According to the latest research, this leads to increased cost burdens and hampers individual health.
The affordable housing crisis is an outcome of the absence of local budgets, cash-strapped states, and federal action. Hence, cities must come up with a way to boost affordable housing. The citizens did gather in the city council meetings and town halls, asking for action. However, it is essential to ponder how they can make a difference?
Here, Maxwell Drever shares a few prominent solutions for enhancing affordable workforce housing.
- Generate affordable housing trusts
The housing trust funds are an ongoing, established, and public funding source for low-income houses in cities and states. However, they don’t have any laws to prevent the local governments from creating them. Today, there are about 14 states that lack city-level funds. And in most of these, state money is the primary funding source owing to high funds and low populations at that level. And both can bring down the demand for the extra local funding.
- Relax the rules for developing and zoning
The “not-in-my-backyard” approach and zoning regulations often raise or hinder the expense of developing affordable, multi-family housing. There have been many city council programs that waives certain zoning rules, which comprises the density and height restrictions and the minimum parking needs. And such rules might help the low-earning housing developers to go through the city’s building methods and develop cost-efficient dwellings. The objective is to bring down the red tape and minimize the requirement for the affordable housing builders to appoint lawyers and spend more.
- Provide tax breaks and incentives
The state incentives, that are federal to the supplemental ones, usually issue credit to the developers for construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of the rental housing targeted to low-income households. Even though the people don’t control how the total funds get allocated, the incentive programs motivate the private developers to maximize the affordable housing supply. It can lead to economic development in the urban centers.
- Revitalizing the neighborhoods
According to Maxwell Drever, the revitalization of the neighborhood covers a wide range of activities. It can encourage change and impact the communities’ socioeconomic characteristics. There have been few affordable housing initiatives in certain cities that have converted abandoned schools into affordable housing units that were functional by November 2018. This project was a part of a neighborhood revitalization plan and concentrated on four specific areas: community economic development, culture, arts, and education. The project opts in for street clean-up movement, tree planting, storefront enhancement, along with operating a housing counseling program. They are also searching for properties to purchase and convert into affordable housing. And renovating such spaces acts as a preventive step against the developers creating housing which isn’t reasonably priced for the long-term residents.
These are some of the solutions that can be implemented to enforce affordable workforce housing initiatives.