A Planner's Perspective: The Case for Affordable Housing

Of the Community Preservation Act's four funding categories, housing is often described as the most complicated - the most nuanced.  Particularly now, in this time of economic crisis, many may wonder what strategies would best address housing needs.  An article in the March issue of Planning Magazine sets out housing strategies for the future.  Alan Mallach, FAICP makes The Case for Affordable Housing.  

For the next couple of years, we will be busy digging ourselves out of the current crisis.  We should spend some of this time also thinking about where we go from here - how we build a new set of affordable housing policies in this country that will be fair and cost-effective and meet the needs of the millions of American families who still suffer from bad housing and neighborhood conditions. 

In the article, Mallach asks "Is this a housing problem or an income problem?"  He goes on to describe high-demand versus low-demand markets, the importance of deconcentrating poverty and building regional equity, fostering economic competitiveness, and addressing the needs of specific populations (such as families, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly).  Mallach also makes the case for affordable rental housing saying that "Homeownership can never be the beginning and end of a housing policy, as it has been for most of the past decade." 

This article takes a step back to describe why we need to build affordable housing and proposes a framework to think about housing strategies going forward.    

For information specific to CPA and housing, be sure to also familiarize yourself with the Guidebook on the Community Preservation Act and Affordable Housing