Having a decent place to live should be a basic expectation in a wealthy nation.
Affordable Housing Basics
- When other countries can ensure housing for its citizens; there is no excuse for homelessness in the U.S.
- The percentage of income going toward housing has been rising, especially in California, straining family budgets.
- Banks, investors, and developers have been profiting at the expense of residents, and causing gentrification and displacement.
Affordable Housing Background and Proposal
The housing market crash of 2008 caused by Wall Street banks put a big dent in people’s ability to be adequately housed. The “recovery” from that global meltdown has primarily benefited the big banks themselves, and investors who paid low prices for homes that people lost, and who then re-sold or rented them at high prices.
The often-stated proposal to break up the big banks does not go far enough. I propose that the banks be replaced by public banks whose mission it is to provide financial services to people and communities, not to serve the investor and developer profiteers.
I also propose that housing is an ideal subject to be addressed by a federally-supported network of citizens community councils. They could explore community land trusts, cooperative housing, and other solutions for each community’s unique situation related to gentrification, displacement, and homelessness coexisting with vacant homes. Their solutions would require federal programs such as the low-income housing tax credit program to be amplified to meet the needs identified by the communities.