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WASHINGTON - Political, business, and community leaders need to recast affordable housing as "an issue of jobs and housing or of housing for workers" in order to achieve lasting success in providing such housing at the regional level, say the authors of a new report by the American Planning Association (APA). In the first comprehensive report of its type in a decade, the authors conclude that affordable housing must be described as "crucial to keep a region economically competitive with other regions that already provide such housing." In the study, Regional Approaches to Affordable Housing , Planning Advisory Service Report No. 513/514, APA researchers Stuart Meck, FAICP, Rebecca Retzlaff, and James Schwab, AICP, evaluated 23 programs across the nation to find out if they actually resulted in housing production and, if so, how. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fannie Mae Foundation, and APA funded the study. The report examines all major types of regional affordable housing programs, including: fair-share housing planning in California, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, as well as in the Portland metropolitan area; regional housing trust funds, a new phenomenon in four states, California, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington; an incentive-based program administered by the Metropolitan Council in the Twin Cities region; affordable housing appeals statutes in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut; private-sector and nonprofit initiatives, including those in the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago. In each case, the report identifies how many units of affordable housing were actually produced, rather than merely planned. "The federal government withdrew support for regional affordable housing programs nearly a quarter of a century ago," noted Meck, a senior research fellow at APA. considerable void. Around the country there are a number of notable voluntary programs, but most are only scratching the surface. Some state governments have assumed a more substantive role by enforcing or overseeing regional approaches, with results turning on the degree of state commitment and financial resources."

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June 16, 2019, 10:38 pm PDT

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