By Robert Lindsay, Janelle Taylor, and Philip Tegeler
Our federal housing policy continues to rely heavily on the private market and the immense capital at its disposal for the production of low income housing. But among government housing officials and across the broad network of non-profit housing professionals in the U.S., the belief in a “right to housing” is strong, along with a vision of housing that is community-owned and controlled, permanently affordable, and resident-centered. This social housing ideal is difficult to achieve at scale without direct public subsidy.
PRRAC’s prior report on social housing goals in HUD programs1 suggested ways that federal legislation and regulatory provisions might be adjusted to divert more public funding to support social housing development and social housing goals. This report, in contrast, examines the flexibility given to states in their allocation of three major federal programs – the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF or HTF), and the federal HOME program (HOME) – and finds a strong developing trend among state governments to steer these programs at least partly in the direction of the social housing ideal. The flexibility available to state governments in these plans highlights the value of organizing and advocacy, particularly at the state executive branch level, to expand tenant protections, establish permanent affordability, and promote community, nonprofit and resident ownership. Consistent with the basic principles of social housing, as recently summarized by the Alliance for Housing Justice,2 we looked for the following types of provisions in state allocation plans:
- Incentives or requirements for long-term affordability above the statutory minimum
- Non-profit ownership or management of housing above the statutory minimum
- Provisions promoting tenant or community acquisition of rental housing above the statutory minimum
- Tenant protections, including just-cause eviction policies above the statutory minimum, rent increase protections, and protection from displacement
- Democratic resident control over housing resources, partnership with community-based organizations, or other community oversight or tenant input in housing policy
- Tenant cooperative models / provisions promoting community living opportunities; limited equity coop or other tenant ownership
- Community land trusts or similar provisions
- Support for tenant organizing and/or engagement
Read the full report here.
Link to Appendix A: Summary of tenant protections and social housing provisions in state housing allocation plans
Link to Appendix B: State-by-state summaries
- What Can HUD Do to Expand Public and Community Ownership of Rental Housing? (PRRAC, April 2021)
- See What is Social Housing? Basic Principles for the U.S., https://www.allianceforhousingjustice.org/us-social-housing-principles.