Community Investments Vol 17, Issue 3
You may have noticed some changes in Community Investments this year. Our first two issues each contained in-depth articles focused solely on a specific topic—our nine-state Environmental Assessments (in January) and Asset Building (in May). We’ve shifted to this format in part because of the recent addition of an in-house research group that is providing us with the analytic talent to drill into issues, synthesize available data and information, and present findings in what we hope is an accessible manner.
This publication continues the single-topic trend by looking at the issue of affordable housing in high cost areas. Our Environmental Assessments identified affordable housing as a top community development priority in much of the Federal Reserve’s 12th District, where many of the country’s most expensive and fastest growing real estate markets are creating acute community development challenges. As we seek solutions, we’ve asked ourselves what the drivers of the affordability crisis in high cost housing markets might be, and what roles various stakeholders should play in addressing the problem.
This issue’s introductory article probes these questions and lays the groundwork for a subsequent series of articles which explore potential solutions for creating affordable housing in expensive real estate markets. We look at the various tools used by state and local governments and even private investors to fill the gap left by declining federal dollars, such as housing trust funds and workforce housing funds. We also examine local regulatory initiatives, such as community land trusts and inclusionary zoning, which can be used to promote affordable housing. Also highlighted are some creative techniques being employed to reduce construction or operating costs, including manufactured housing and green design.
We hope you find this information useful in your work and we look forward to finding ways to work together to highlight innovative solutions, leverage available resources, and build new public/private partnerships. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your feedback and your ideas for collaboration.