International Comparison Yields Ideas for Strengthening Housing Policy

International Comparison Yields Ideas for Strengthening Housing Policy
Sarah Ellis and Kristin Siglin
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As three quarters of Americans with eligible incomes receive no federal housing assistance, the Housing Partnership Network (HPN), a collaborative that engages nonprofit affordable housing and community development organizations, is looking beyond the U.S. for ideas on how to address the nation’s housing needs. In the report Lessons of the International Housing Partnership, HPN compares affordable housing approaches from the U.S. and U.K. and recommends a social enterprise model to more effectively provide affordable housing. In HPN’s estimation, the most effective affordable housing approach combines the entrepreneurship of a for-profit with the mission-focus of a nonprofit.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Expand the U.S. Capital Magnet Fund to allow the growth of innovative financing models and facilitate the efficient use of government funds.
  • Prioritize preservation of affordable housing the transfer of the aging public housing stock to high capacity nonprofits.
  • Use a portfolio model for multifamily housing preservation to provide more flexibility for acquisition of multiple properties through one transaction.
  • Make housing a platform for improving communities and building assets for residents through connections between high-performing housing nonprofits and social service providers.
  • Improve access to affordable homeownership through proven approaches, including acquisition and rehabilitation and rent-to-own programs.