When it comes to basic needs and rights, we cannot trust the market to work for everyone. That’s why government intervenes in the market to provide public education, affordable health care, food and water. Affordable housing should be no different.
- Collaborate with representatives of low-income communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities. They understand how the market has disadvantaged their communities and have thoughtful solutions. They must have a central role in policymaking, and their voice is key to creating equitable neighborhoods.
- Include affordable housing. Set aside a meaningful percentage of homes for residents at lower income levels, including for people experiencing homelessness. It is essential that market-rate developers taking advantage of government benefits provide deeply affordable housing.
- Protect existing residents from displacement when investing in vulnerable communities. Investment in vulnerable communities is essential for advancing social and racial equity. But investments must serve the needs of the existing community and not result in their displacement. This includes direct displacement resulting from demolition, but also “indirect” displacement that results from gentrification caused by increased property values that motivate some landlords to pressure existing tenants to leave, accelerate evictions, and substantially increase rents.
- Open up communities that have traditionally resisted both market-rate and affordable housing. These communities are frequently low density (think mostly single-family homes) and often include good jobs and high-quality public schools. Yet new market-rate supply may end up mostly affecting historically redlined and vulnerable communities, making them particularly vulnerable to gentrification and especially in need of affordable housing.