Opinion: The Housing Crisis Isn't Going Away With the Pandemic

As the housing crisis rages on, the housing assistance infrastructure put in place during the pandemic can provide a model for long-term aid programs.

1 minute read

November 30, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


HUD

Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock

"As the pandemic surged across America, Congress and the White House made available more than $75 billion to support at-risk renters and homeowners, and even more in flexible relief funds that could be used for housing aid." Gregory Heller, a director and affordable-housing subject matter expert at Guidehouse, argues that the government should use this example to implement similar policies outside the pandemic, treating the housing crisis as a disaster not dissimilar from COVID-19 or natural disasters.

The programs billed as disaster relief put in place during the pandemic showed that it is possible to distribute funds and aid quickly, writes Heller. "Now that we have started to view and respond to America’s housing instability crisis as a disaster, one thing is clear: We cannot go back to the way we funded housing before; otherwise, we’ll simply return to the pre-pandemic status quo."

To Heller, the infrastructure developed around pandemic relief programs provides a powerful opportunity to build on these programs and "recognize that this disaster will not end when the health and economic impacts of the pandemic are behind us." Thus, Heller says, the government should continue to invest in and strengthen infrastructure and programs that address housing instability.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021 in Governing

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.