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Redfin chief economist on how Ben Carson can solve affordability crisis

Four policies HUD secretary can enact now

During his speech Monday to employees of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD secretary Ben Carson commented that the department is well-positioned to influence the country.

In this aspect, the HUD secretary and Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin, an online real estate company, agree. Richardson pointed out that income inequality and affordable housing are at the worst levels ever seen in the U.S.

In her blog, Richardson calls for long-term solutions to bring affordable housing to the middle class.

Here are the four policies Richardson says Carson could put into place right now to begin to heal the affordability crisis in America:

1. Create a national housing plan

Richardson explains the HUD secretary can reframe the housing crisis into an economic issue with regional and national importance.

2. Increase the use and subsidy amount of housing vouchers

Many needs for federal assistance go unmet, she writes. HUD could increase programs to help working families make a better life.

3. Encourage deregulation of restrictive zoning rules

HUD can look at policies to change communities to inclusionary zoning practices by offering federal infrastructure investments to improve the neighborhoods.

4. Champion investments through the low-income housing tax credit program

To ensure families aren’t isolated from economic opportunity, Carson could incentivize builders to invest in affordable housing near America’s job centers.

So far, Carson has not made any statements about his plans for policies as HUD secretary, but said he would first conduct a listening campaign with HUD employees across the country.

But during his speech Monday, listeners got a sense of the type of secretary Carson will be as he said there will not be extras for anyone, and stressed his vision of public-private partnerships.

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