In a new report, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) outlines the growing need, current threats, and innovative solutions for preserving the country's shrinking supple of affordable rental housing.
"Preserving existing affordable rental housing offers many advantages over new construction," writes HUD. "The nation's stock of government-subsidized affordable rentals represents a taxpayer-funded investment worth billions of dollars. The cost of constructing new subsidized and privately owned affordable rental housing from the ground up, says Enterprise Community Partners' Lydia Tom, would be staggering. By contrast, preservation typically costs about one-half to two-thirds as much as new construction. Preservation also enables people to stay in their homes and neighborhoods, where they can enjoy the social capital they have built within their communities."
So what programs are most effective at preserving this shrinking resource? HUD looks at federal solutions (such as the Mark-to-Market program and the Rental Assistance Demonstration pilot program) and local solutions (in cities such as Denver, San Diego, and New York) that have proven successful.