The shortage of decent affordable housing in our metro regions has reached a crisis point. In many cities, rising prices for housing have brought about the displacement and exclusion of whole segments of the population. This destabilizes neighborhoods and families, with negative effects on health, safety and educational attainment. It forces people to live far from where they work, contributing to sprawl, traffic congestion, pollution and geographic segregation. Yet federal and state resources to address the problem are on the decline.
The Partnership network is helping communities and local governments rise to this challenge. We’re using proven strategies to make sure that cities use public resources like land and tax dollars for the public good, leading to more, not less, affordable housing and social and economic integration.
We are driving forward local measures that have real impact, including:
- New revenue sources such as impact fees on commercial and residential development that generate millions of dollars for affordable housing development in the impacted community. Working Partnerships USA and its allies won a new housing impact fee in San Jose that will mean 10,000 units of new affordable housing in Silicon Valley.
- Inclusionary housing policies that help make sure every neighborhood has housing for people across the economic spectrum. Read our blog post about how inclusionary housing delivers neighborhood stability and opportunity.
- Innovative land use controls that help preserve neighborhood stability and stave off the worst effects of gentrification. In Seattle, Puget Sound Sage and its allies changed the outcome of a rezone of a hot market neighborhood to generate millions of more dollars in additional revenue for affordable housing than the existing policy would have.
- Community Benefits Agreements that ensure catalytic redevelopment projects create value for all communities, not channel public resources luxury housing. See the range of Community Benefits Agreements now in effect in cities across the country.
Partnership affiliates in Seattle, New York, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Denver, San Diego, Oakland, Boston and Los Angeles are using these tools to transform the housing landscape in their communities. As part of these efforts, we’re building a broader urban agenda, connecting the fight for decent affordable housing with the fight for good jobs for local communities, and bringing together shared interests to challenge the agenda of gentrification, displacement and disinvestment in low-income communities of color.
We are also changing the way “housing campaigns” are run by bringing new partners and allies to the table and connecting policy and legal analysis with deep organizing. This makes campaigns more powerful and expands the scope of the effort. In New York City, ALIGN and its more than 50 coalition partners in the Real Affordability for All campaign are leading an effort to preserve affordable housing, open up housing opportunity at all affordability levels and connect local residents to good jobs as a part of anticipated citywide rezoning.
Finally, we are changing the conversation about what is possible in cities. We’re working with organizations and local officials across the country to make sure that they have the policy, legal and economic analysis that they need to move an affordable housing agenda forward. We’re also connecting advocates, organizers and experts to generate the best ideas and strategies for building more inclusive metro areas. All of this adds up to a bolder, smarter agenda for combating the housing crisis and transforming our cities.