What if everyone could afford quality housing, and every neighborhood offered a diversity of housing options? What if people up and down the income ladder could enjoy housing security and build wealth through homeownership? Achieving this vision requires more than incremental tinkering with today’s market institutions and public policies. It calls for bold action at all levels of government and in the private and nonprofit sectors. The challenge is urgent. In many communities across the country, home prices and rents have climbed out of reach for a growing share of households. New housing construction disproportionately serves the affluent, and housing subsidies serve only a fraction of those in need. Market pressures and gentrification are pushing many lower-income people out of their communities. Increases in housing inequalities, in turn, will unavoidably increase threats to families’ stability, children’s well-being, and opportunities for upward mobility. Changemakers are rising to this challenge at every level of government, in private enterprises and community-based nonprofits, in advocacy organizations and philanthropy, and in resident-led community initiatives. But they lack reliable information with which to design and implement solutions. In this Catalyst brief, we suggest opportunities for new knowledge-building that could inform and accelerate solutions to the profound housing challenges facing our country.
The report can be read on Urban's Next50 website.