The Answer

There are challenges associated with conventional approaches to addressing the affordable housing crisis. To understand the implications of those challenges, check out THE TRUTH.

To meet the housing demands of all households regardless of income is a noble goal worthy of attention. It is also a goal that cannot be met through existing housing efforts that rely on real estate professionals, whether for-profit, non-profit, or governmental, providing housing for consumers.

The gap between what low-income households can afford to pay and the costs of professionally-provided housing is too wide to be closed through cost reductions, increased household purchasing power, and expanded housing subsidies.

These strategies must play a role in addressing the crisis, but relying solely on professionals to solve the housing crisis is doomed to another five decades of failure. To rely on conventional approaches of providing affordable housing would come at the expense of working families. The primary beneficiaries would be professional real estate developers and financiers who shelter their wealth and incomes from taxation and have been granted a near monopoly on housing production through public policies.

Without a doubt, landlords, homebuilders, and realtors have an important role to play in the housing market, specifically by providing products and services to people who are willing and able to pay for them.

Many households today, however, are not yet in a position of being able to participate in the housing market.

Said another way, products and services capable of meeting the housing demands of low-income households at prices they can afford to pay have yet to emerge.

Today there is an opportunity for a new, comprehensive approach to solving the housing crisis by meeting the demands for housing of all households. Real estate markets are dominated by professionals. Professionally-provided housing is expensive. Homebuyers must compete with institutional rental property investors over residential properties. Low-income tenants must negotiate with profit-driven landlords. Wealth is concentrated in relatively few hands.

Leveling the competitive playing field between homebuyers and investors, affording greater agency to low-income households in attaining their housing, and widely distributing real estate wealth are achievable by democratizing development.

de·moc·ra·tize
verb
• make (something) accessible to everyone.

If the affordable housing crisis is to be addressed, the public governmental, non-profit philanthropic, and private commercial sectors cannot be the only providers and producers of housing. Demands for housing must be met by means other than professionals providing services and products for consumers in a marketplace or participants in subsidized programs.

Addressing the housing crisis requires a sacrifice, but not of quality standards.

To learn about how to Democratize Development, continue to SERVICES.