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It’s Time to Build New, Mixed-Income Public Housing
That today is the time to fight for public housing is the argument of “Social Housing in the United States,” a new report published by the People’s Policy Project, an independent think tank. With half of the rental population facing the prospect of being rent-burdened, and with fewer than 1 in 3 of the 9 million families foreclosed on during the recession likely to purchase homes again, something clearly must change in the way we approach housing and shelter.
I spoke with Ryan Cooper, co-author of the report (with Peter Gowan), about current approaches to government intervention in the rental market, the politics of home ownership, why public housing needs to be mixed income, and what we can envision from a society that provides adequate, affordable housing to all of its citizens.
Tanner Howard: How does the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit [LIHTC] reflect the shortcomings of our current approach to private housing as an affordable housing solution? What could the money that’s going to it and programs like it, specifically New York and its massive tax offsets, be doing in the short-term if it were to be reinvested in public housing?
Ryan Cooper: The main characteristic of these kind of tax break-style of things is that it seems clear that in every circumstance, it’s much less efficient to try to coax the private market into doing what you want, rather than just doing it yourself.
A clear example was the Obama administration’s approach to foreclosure policy, when they decided they’d...