A quick Google search shows that affordable housing is dominating the nation’s interest in our space.
With the election approaching, we must ask ourselves this question: How can we get affordable housing meaningfully addressed by the power brokers to-be?
Let’s face it, the current administration fell woefully short in government-sponsored enterprise reform and, especially, in setting forth reachable goals in addressing the affordable housing crisis in this nation.
The echo chambers of Congress may wish to ignore these issues, but from this day on, they do so at their own peril.
So what’s so different about today?
So many things.
The top stories about housing are dominated by the inequities of societal housing needs.
Check this out. Over at Slate Magazine, author Jake Blumgart writes about the affordable housing “moonshot” with the following:
In this presidential election year, universal vouchers have only made a tentative foray onto the agenda. The only candidate to explicitly call for universal housing vouchers was Martin O’Malley, who proposed setting an eligibility limit at 30 percent of a region’s median income. None of the Republicans released a comprehensive housing plan of any kind. Hillary Clinton only mentioned vouchers in the context of tweaking them to ensure easier access to high-income areas, while Bernie Sanders spoke of a “need to increase funding for the housing choice voucher program.” It remains unclear what either major party’s platform will call for in terms of housing policy.
That’s not good enough.
Nor is the claim of The Nation that only the wealthy can currently benefit from the appalling state of affordable housing.
David Meni and Ezra Levin write that the wealthy are able to dodge taxes via mortgage and housing tax windfalls.
“There are also about 4 million middle-income households paying more than 30% of their income on housing. The average monthly benefit from these tax programs for middle-income earners? Twelve bucks. Don’t spend it all in one place.”
So what’s the problem?
Two things: approach and education.
In the cover story of the July issue of HousingWire magazine, which published just today, we profile the two individuals who cracked both codes.
That story on page 30 of the magazine covers the efforts of Pamela and Meghan Patenaude, the mother/daughter duo that is connecting the private housing and mortgage finance worlds to friends in Washington.
This excerpt helps lay it out:
“I met with a wealthy mortgage lender last week,” Pamela opens, “and he said ‘Affordability is at the highest levels I have seen, so what’s the problem?’”
“The problem is, he doesn’t get it,” Pamela said. Meghan is quick to add, “We’ll get him to get it.” The exchange is subtle, but also says a lot.
Pamela and Meghan Patenaude run the day-to-day operations of the J. Ron Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families. Their goal is to educate Congress about the need for a strong, clear housing policy to be executed in the next presidential administration.
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The Patenaudes teamed with HousingWire to help get the message out, to educate people such as the mortgage lender above, and others.
HousingWire also published a guest blog outlining three ways to help better address affordable housing.
We'll get there one day, America, and when we do, it will be through the tireless efforts of people like the Patenaudes and several other who publish to this blog on a regular basis.
Be sure to check back often.