Achieving the vision of housing options that help households at all income levels to achieve their dream of homeownership requires bold innovation at all levels of government in the private and nonprofit sectors, according to a research report by the Urban Institute's Urban Next50.
Urban Next50 is an initiative in partnership with the Citi Foundation that explores promising solutions to advance equity and upward mobility. For the research report, Urban Institute held a series of conversations with experts, advocates, practitioners, and policymakers in housing to understand the gaps that keep innovations from advancing in housing and the solutions to the "nation's most challenging housing problems."
The report focused on four areas, which if "pursued effectively and at scale could correct the fundamental mismatch between housing needs and housing supply" being faced in the current market. They included:
- Producing more housing at a lower cost through modernized local zoning and land use regulations for builders and developers
- Preserving affordable housing and protecting residents of revitalizing neighborhoods from displacement through partnerships between local housing officials and private-sector property owners, financial institutions, and community-based nonprofits
- Expanding housing assistance through federal and state policymakers to ensure that people at the bottom of the income ladder can afford decent housing
- Expanding opportunities for secure homeownership through new mortgage loan products and innovative processes that close the persistent gaps in homeownership and home equity for people of color
However, the report pointed out that one of the key challenges to implementing these solutions was the "lack of reliable information with which to design and implement" them.
Giving some examples, the report indicated that while local and state planners lacked reliable information about how zoning and land regulations differed across national jurisdictions, mayors, housing officials, private developers, or nonprofit organizations attempting to expand the housing supply were often "stymied by fierce “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) opposition."
Community-based organizations and local housing officials trying to preserve affordable housing urgently needed data and analytic tools to monitor the unsubsidized affordable housing stock; assess risks of loss so they could prioritize properties (and property owners); and design effective strategies for maintaining housing availability, quality, and affordability, the report said.
Click here to read the full report.