Housing Policy in America

Land, Shelter, & Social Justice

America needs a real housing policy

'bumpyjonas…
4 min readOct 27, 2022

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Robert C. Weaver w/ President Lyndon B. Johnson. Weaver was the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, created in 1965, an agency created to address America’s affordable housing issues — Public Domain

Where is America’s affordable housing policy or plan?

In America, millions of people can barely afford housing. This is especially so when it comes to the basic level of housing — rental housing.

As the prices to purchase housing have recently shot through the roof (over the last few years), rental housing has been unaffordable for decades. The primary reason for this is America’s lack of a coherent housing policy.

This lack of commitment to real housing policy, with goals, objectives, and with some consideration of the challenges for ordinary Americans has to be addressed in the near future.

Life of a housing advocate

I am a long-time tenant lawyer. I have advocated for low to moderate-income Americans in courts, city council chambers, government agencies, and even the U.S. Congress. Housing is a serious challenge in the U.S. Most of us are so busy doing our work and trying to maintain our lives, we rarely see the big picture.

Currently, after nearly three decades practicing housing law in various parts of the country and teaching the law of it, I now teach what I witnessed (and still witness) as an advocate. In teaching the reality of housing policy in the U.S., I see it in even more stark terms.

Here are some terrible facts related to housing for ordinary Americans trying to rent:

  • According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual rental housing affordability report, “Out of Reach,” there are very few areas of the country where low-wage workers can afford housing on their salaries.
  • Right now, in the nation’s 50 most populous metro areas, the median rent is over $2000.
  • “In no state, metropolitan area, or county in the U.S. can a worker earning the federal or prevailing state or local minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour work week.”
  • Rents continue to soar; while wages hardly match the pace of that increase.

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'bumpyjonas…

word scratcher, baller, shot caller, born in a city made of chocolate.