Posted on: July 22, 2020
A New Model for Housing Finance, 1st Edition
Public and Private Sectors Working Together to Build Affordability
By Murtaza Baxamusa
There is a general consensus among both scholars and practitioners in the industry that housing policy in the U.S. is not working. The search for answers is often limited to current models. A New Model for Housing Finance, Public and Private Sectors Working Together to Build Affordability opens up the proverbial box within which most of the literature is located, and brings in a new way of thinking that has been successful in other places. This is an accessible book for students, urban activists, planners, legislators, scholars, and all those interested in addressing the housing crisis.
(1) Inadequate past public and private housing interventions have left a legacy of inequality and segregation in our cities. The housing crisis has impacted those at the lowest income levels the hardest.
(2) The housing crisis is something that cannot be addressed simply by relaxing zoning and planning regulations. In fact, the roots of deregulation lie within a neoliberal philosophy, which in itself has created the rigid divisions between the public and private sectors.
(3) The system for finance and the development of housing in the U.S. needs to be fundamentally restructured. The public sector needs to have a one-stop-shop agency that coordinates all the housing functions at multiple levels in government; and the underlying guarantees for private housing need to be limited and targeted to achieve accessible and affordable homes for all Americans.
I learned that housing affordability is not an isolated problem. It is related to many other social tensions, such as climate change, unemployment, austerity, refugees and immigration, demographic shifts, urban-rural resources as well as the larger trends on rising global inequality. Although it covers a lot of ground in terms of the topics, this book succinctly (within 130 pages) presents extensive research from scholarly literature, case studies and statistical analysis.
The ideas and insights in A New Model for Housing Finance, Public and Private Sectors Working Together to Build Affordability have been gleaned over two decades of researching, teaching and working in the field of public policy. The faculty and students at the University of Southern California (USC) were formative in my policy and planning education. A lot of the material in this book was developed while teaching my course on urban planning and social policy at USC. I am also a practitioner and my professional experience informed my views. I worked at a labor think-tank, Center on Policy Initiatives, that gave me an analytical perspective on workforce and community organizing. My current employer, San Diego Building Trades Family Housing Corporation is a nonprofit that owns and operates a large affordable housing project built in 1968–1969 by trade unions. I have also benefited in being at the front row of a lot of statewide public policy campaigns for housing affordability, being on the board of Housing California.