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Wharton Op-Ed Cites Need for More Hands-on Housing Policy

Phil Hall
Jul 09, 2019
Home Diversification Corp., a startup fintech based in Manchester, N.H., has launched a consumer division called “Diversify My Home,”

The absence of a national housing policy is making a bad situation worse for millions of Americans who struggle with housing costs, according to an op-ed written by Vincent Reina, Ph.D., assistant professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design.
In his op-ed “The U.S. Needs a National Vision for Housing Policy,” published by the Wharton Public Policy Initiative, Reina acknowledged that this issue has been metastasizing for many years, but he warned the price of not addressing it with greater vigor being paid by too many households.
“In 2017, nearly 31 percent of all households and 46 percent of renters spent over 30 percent of their income on rent,” Reina opined. “The situation is far worse for low-income households. Among U.S. households with incomes less than $20,000, the share that were rent burdened in 2017 stood at a staggering 88.4 percent, whereas less than one percent of households in this bracket spent less than 20 percent of their income on rent. There is increasing evidence that households lack the ability to find cheaper housing on their own—in their own market or a neighboring one—since the stock of affordable private market housing units are a fraction of the demand.”
Reina offered a five-step approach to creating a new national housing policy initiative: Making the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program “more flexible to deal with a greater variety of local housing market conditions”; creating a more vigorous federal guidance for increasing private market housing and access in localities where zoning laws are marked with “stringent land use regulations”; allocating more federal funding for new and existing affordable housing; reinstating the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing guidelines; and promoting the financing of retrofitting existing housing.
“Policymakers and researchers often approach one aspect of housing in isolation—for example, the need to reduce rent burdens or to increase homeownership rates or to promote access to opportunity neighborhoods—but linking all of these conversations is critical,” Reina added.
“Very interesting article about the need for affordable housing and the negative effects on certain demographics,” Brandao said on her LinkedIn page. “As mortgage professionals, we need to continue to be a trusted advisor for the families who have put their trust in us, whether it’s purchasing a home as a multigenerational household, buying the fixer upper, building a new home in a rural area or purchasing a manufactured home we need to provide the expertise to guide them home.”

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