How States Can Combat Affordable Housing NIMBYs

The U.S. is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. But as the landmark Mount Laurel saga illustrates, many communities object to developing such housing. Corianne Payton Scally argues that states should work harder to promote such projects.

"The affordable housing industry is increasingly focused on clear and effective messaging as the means of convincing skeptical bystanders to support more funding and regulations to increase [affordable housing] supply and subsidies," observes Scally.

But while national approaches can be effective, battles over specific projects often take place in an environment of local skepticism. A recent survey conducted by the ReThink Initiative "found most people want everyone to have a 'decent and safe place to live', but don’t want to live near public housing themselves."

"State governments are in an excellent position to help craft messages and resulting policies and programs to fit unique local circumstances and legacies, although few use their position to the fullest potential," argues Scally. "What if, through better messaging, targeting, and monitoring of actual outcomes, states could actually alleviate fears, combat negative legacies, and promote positive ones throughout its cities and regions?"

"More than just calculating numbers," she recommends, "states could provide a comprehensive vision and plan for affordable homes that is sensitive to local contexts, but willing to challenge them."

Full Story: Can Better Messaging Overcome NIMBY?

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