Building and Sustaining Affordable Housing

Housing is a basic need around which our health and stability is built, our neighborhoods are centered and housing (through homeownership) is a cornerstone for wealth building. Thus access to safe, quality and affordable housing is one of the biggest issues impacting communities across the US. History has taught us that housing policy has played a significant role in creating segregated communities and perpetuating systemic racism.

In order to advance racial equity we need to enact new policies and allocate new resources to make sure we have affordable rental and homeownership options available in every neighborhood.

Featured Essays and Media

Discussion Questions

Read through the following questions and answer them based off what you learned from the readings:

1. How do you define affordable housing? Where is affordable housing located in your city? Who do you see as needing affordable housing? The U.S. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines affordable housing as housing on which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs, including utilities. Does this change your perspective?

2. What are some factors that impact housing accessibility and affordability in your opinion? What did you learn from the essay materials?

3. Is gentrification occurring in your community? Where? What has that process looked like? Are there any policies in place to protect against it?

4. How did the interviews and/or podcasts impact you? What issues or solutions did they raise that resonate with your and/or are present in your community?

Discussion Questions

  • Do a quick google search to find out: The gap between black and white homeownership in your city? What is the average income in your city? The average sales price of a home?

  • Housing is usually discussed by housing developers as Area Median Income - do a search to find what that means? What is the AMI in your community?

  • What is your relationship to homeownership? Has it been easy or hard for you to access? Your family? Has it provided an opportunity for wealth building?

  • Identify at least 1-2 organizations who are providing affordable housing in your community. What are the range of housing types they are providing? What income ranges are they serving? Where have they built housing?

Additional Resources

Housing Segregation In Everything
Maria Paz Gutierrez, NPR (April 11, 2018)

The Color of Law
Richard Rothstein (2017)" rel="noopener" target="_blank">A Case for Reparations
Annika Neklason, The Atlantic (June 2014)

In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America
Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui (April 7, 2018)

Yes, you can gentrify a neighborhood without pushing out poor people

Jesse Van Tol, The Washington Post (April 8, 2019)

Inclusionary Zoning Laws offer Opportunity to Combat Low Income Residency Exclusion

Lilo Blank, Temple University for Public Health Havard Law (August 9, 2019)

Shifting Neighborhoods: Gentrification and Cultural Displacement in American Cities
Jason Richardson, Bruce Mitchell, Juan Franco (March 19, 2019)

Featured Work

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