Skip to content
Home > News > How to solve the affordable housing crisis | Sweetened

How to solve the affordable housing crisis | Sweetened

How to solve the affordable housing crisis Sweetened

Note this story is an element of Squeezed Out the series produced by Lee Enterprises focused on the increasing housing problem across the West. In the West, the rent costs or purchasing property have increased in recent years, causing many people and families to rethink what home means to them. More than 12 photographers, reporters, and editors from across the West contributed to this endeavor.

solving the issue of affordability in housing will require societies to decide whether to grow larger, taller, or stop expanding.

The cost of homes has increased in recent months because demand for housing has exceeded supply. At present in there is a need for housing in the United States needs between 3.8 million and 5.5 million housing units to meet the current demand, according to the Center for Housing Finance Policy at the Urban Institute.

People also are able to…

The cause – and even possible solutions are based on the view of the person you’re looking for.

“People talk about vacation rentals, people talk about greedy builders, absentee landlords, and all sorts of other things,” says Patrick Barkey, an economist, and director of the University of Montana’s Office of Business and Economic Research. “There is a myriad of stories floating around.

Everyone is asking, “What did we accomplish? Are you causing a lot of people at once? 

The American dream of homeownership becoming out of the possibility for many buyers Communities are thinking about ways to reverse this trend.


Building on the outskirts of cities permits bigger homes on smaller land.

Homes built by homebuilders are affordable since they can be constructed in large numbers on land bought in large amounts.

Materials are bought for multiple homes at the same time, which reduces the cost, and communities can be divided into apartments and homes for sale complexes.

First-time home buyers are able to be part of a community that has the same neighbors.

How to solve the affordable housing crisis Sweetened

“Because the homes are very similar or even identical, you can feel equal to your neighbors in the lane development process,” says Emily Medlock of Homedit, an online resource website for homeowners. “There is no ‘keeping up with the neighbors’ when everyone is on an equal playing field.”

In order to increase affordability, we must tear up open spaces and create long commutes for those who are unable to reside in the cities where they work.

The two satellite images on Google Earth show what southeast Phoenix was like in 2000, and in the year 2020. The area has been subject to substantial urban sprawl in the last two decades. Move the circle around the center of the picture above to observe the differences.

The impact is also on water supply sources in the western states, particularly the southwest region, as well as the need for cars for travel to work.

In Idaho where the population has grown significantly more than in all other states in western America over the last five years, many people need to relocate from towns in the vicinity since they are unable to afford something further away, says Vanessa Fry, interim director of Idaho policy. Institute Research Group is located at Boise State University.

The more waiters, service workers as well as teachers, and nurses who travel long distances daily can have a devastating impact on the landscape, but bartering can be a cheaper option to buyers, and developers, they often move to an area that is developing or a County when core cities refuse the idea.


Infilling the vacant corners of urban spaces with homes is a viable alternative to sprawl.

However, aside from custom homes, the majority of developers require several units in order to ensure that the balance sheet is in order.

They may construct, but tall structures always annoy neighbors who aren’t keen on blocking their view and are scared of noise and crowds.

“Not In My Backyard,” or opposition NIMBY is causing delays to construction projects in the United States by on average 7.4 months as per the National Association of Home Builders and the National Multifamily Housing Council.

In the event that one can bypass neighbor’s objections, regulations for building homes aren’t dependent on speed.

“We still have to figure out how the private side can work with the government side to keep costs down,” says Brian Bonnenfant of the University of Nevada Center for Regional Studies in Reno.

He believes that reducing rules would be a huge move.

Parking requirements, such as requiring developers to purchase additional land or construct large parking facilities that are expensive.

In addition, incentives could be provided to developers along transportation corridors, Bonnefante added. In this way, they could build development projects that have smaller parking spaces as residents will not necessarily have to use a car.

Other options include changing the fee structure to ensure developers don’t need to pay upfront, but rather after they build and manage the units.

In certain communities, local laws or ordinances restrict incentives to build affordable housing while also providing tax breaks that are typical for fee waivers.

Arizona For instance, Arizona does not permit the enforcement on affordable housing. Thus, Tucson instead offers developers a boost to construct urban cores to attract.

The federal government, an aspect of the White House’s plan to construct more homes is to reward localities that have a change in zoning and land-use policies and score higher for federal grants.

The National Home Builders Association estimates that the regulations enforced by every level of government contribute to over 40% of the multi-family development expenses.

In the list of regulations are Building codes, zoning regulations impact fee design standards, and public land regulations.

The Urban Institute says fewer regulations can help to build more homes as well as remove restrictions on condo lending as well as alternative homes such as manufactured houses prefab, panel, or prefab homes.

“We know what the solutions are,” Boninfante stated. “It’s just, how can we do that without destroying existing neighborhoods, without gentrification, without making government collapse?”

Local officials should take steps to educate residents on the need to build more homes and recognize fears about the consequences.

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. A non-profit organization that promotes more housing offers the following suggestions for local authorities:

Participate in the community early and frequently as plans for development emerge and develop.

Find and mobilize community heroes to help spread the concept to neighbors and friends.

Create documents that highlight the benefits that the community will receive as a result of the growth.

Consider the legitimate needs of the community like the place of the entrance or the design of the building in order to better integrate into the current community.

Develop plans for development and share examples of projects that have been completed to help residents appreciate the high quality.

Set up a focal point for team development. Make this person accessible and visible for the entire community.

“With the tensions increasing housing advocates have needed to think of new ways of dealing with residents’ concerns, usually in the form of parking issues as well as traffic congestion due to increased density and community growth that is not in the neighborhood’s style or the skyline that could be impacted. The new development is right across from the neighborhood,” the organization says. “As advocates for policies and programs rise with the new development, we have missed the opportunity to shift the narrative around how important housing is as well as the definition of “affordable housing” means, why housing is a common public concern and what needs to be done to solve this problem.”

no growth

The idea of declaring a town or city “full” with no room for growth is a good idea for certain.

“There is no such thing as a ‘not growing community,” says Shane Phillips, an urban planner and expert on policy in Los Angeles.

Cities and suburbs throughout all over the United States have spent decades telling themselves that if we don’t have plans for the growth of population then people will find another place to reside.’

Communities that are deemed desirable but do not alter their policies to promote the construction of more homes will have rents and prices for housing continue to increase.

Examples from areas of the West Include San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boulder, Colorado.

in the 60s Boulder created a green area around the city to prevent housing development in the city’s fringes or hillsides and also to decrease the populations.

“The effect has been to narrow the city’s population to the hyper-elite, while essential workers live on the other side of the greenbelt,” Max Holleran, professor of sociology at the University of Melbourne, wrote in a recent article of the Washington Post. “The circular open space of Boulder looks like a necklace of emeralds, enjoyed only by those who can live nearby.”

Cities like Seattle as well as San Francisco have placed so many restrictions on construction of housing to protect the environment. protecting the environment that their housing markets are one of the most expensive in the West.

Today, they are facing thousands of camps for homeless which have emerged in the shadows high towers.

The analysts say that growth without being approved or planned for will not be good for small communities that have seen growth in the population following the pandemic.

“The faster you grow without planning for it, the worse your roads will be, the worse the water will become,” said Laura Jones, housing coordinator in Rapid City, South Dakota. “Everything is more expensive, and everything suffers. It becomes an area where you don’t wish to live any longer.”

Phillips states cities have two options: either to increase the number of homes for sale or cut down on the number of homes they have and increase their prices for homes.

“Unfortunately, many places still choose the second place, due to the great plight of renters, younger generations, and those who were not so lucky to be born to wealthy parents,” He states.

It is reported that the Environmental Protection Agency referred to Oakland, California, as an area that has embraced more housing and is in partnership with the community.

His men Hin-Nu Terrace is a 1.5-acre development that is located on an abandoned grocery store in an area of disaster.

This development helped to revitalize the area by providing affordable housing units as well as a community center and commercial space along an important bus route.

The project’s designer engaged the residents in interactive design workshops. Eco-friendly finishing materials were chosen together with windows and balconies for residents to watch the street and increase security.

The commercial space is home to an early elementary school as well as non-profit offices, a convenience store, and a market hall that caters to local entrepreneurs and vendors.

The funding for outdoor art with the National Endowment for the Arts has prompted redevelopment in the nearby neighborhood which included new houses and the refurbishment of local eateries.

“Planning should no longer be a tool for those who just want to avoid change; instead, planning can and should be a tool for building just societies for all,” states the American Planning Association. “An outreach strategy can guide planners toward engaging the public and key stakeholders in conversations about housing needs, demand, and trends, as well as the consequences of inaction.”