Addressing the Affordable Housing Crunch: U.S. Policy Shifts

publicationWilson Center 12.18.14
By Christina Rosan, research assistance from Yuan Huang
As more people are living in cities, the gap between affordable housing and low- and middle-income households in urban areas continues to grow wider. While experts agree on the importance of affordable housing for the well-being of a city and its residents, confronting the affordable housing shortage has been the subject of much debate and remains one of the top urban policy challenges in the United States today.
Since the 1930s the provision of affordable housing in the United States has been accomplished through a mix of local, state, federal and private approaches. In Policy Shift: How the U.S. Developed a Hybrid Model of Affordable Housing Provision, author Christina Rosan traces the evolution of U.S. affordable housing policy, using a framework of “policy shifts” to explain the transition from a system in which the government directly provided public housing to a hybrid demand-side model. The shift toward housing policies that promote partnerships with the private sector and the not-for-profit community reflects a growing recognition that the public sector alone cannot meet demand.

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