The Detroit Free Press Editorial Board, Thurs., Mar. 22, 2012
Yesterday the Detroit Free Press editorial board weighed in on the importance of rental housing as we recover from the housing crisis. The full piece can be found online at freep.com:
The recent mortgage foreclosure crisis kept U.S. housing policies centered on home ownership, even as it began to shake America’s unquestioning faith in ownership as the only suitable housing option, or a foolproof way to build wealth. Increasing numbers of poor families and elderly people cannot afford single-family homes of their own. Meanwhile, a new generation of young professionals — and older empty-nesters — want to live in dense, diverse and walkable neighborhoods, especially in urban and downtown rental markets.
“We need a more balanced housing policy,” Shaun Donovan, director of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, told the Free Press editorial board earlier this month. …
…Before President Barack Obama took office, the U.S. had lost an estimated 350,000 of its 2 million units of subsidized housing over the previous decade. They either deteriorated or owners converted them to market-rate housing. Federal housing assistance programs serve only about one in four of eligible low-income families.
Under Donovan, HUD has improved occupancy rates, putting more than 100,000 families into vacant public housing. HUD has also rebuilt some deteriorating housing stock, but Congress must do more to preserve it, as well as authorize HUD to use innovative public-private partnerships to raise money. Fulfilling a decades-old promise to make adequate housing a right and reality for all will take a more balanced housing policy – one that meets the needs of the growing market for affordable rentals, as well as for home ownership.