Friday, June 17, 2016

Why there’s a new kind of housing crisis

Nearly one-third of survey respondents said they’d had to scramble to cover a mortgage or rent payment in the past few years
It’s about more than just shelter, one group says.

America has a housing crisis, and most Americans want policy action to address it.
That’s the conclusion of an annual survey released Thursday by the MacArthur Foundation.
The “crisis” is no longer defined by the layers of distress left behind after the subprime bubble burst, but about access to stable, affordable housing.
A vast majority of respondents – 81% - said housing affordability is a problem, and one-third said they or someone they know has been evicted, foreclosed on, or lost their housing in the past five years.
Over half the respondents, 53%, said they’d had to make sacrifices over the past three years to be able to pay their mortgage or rent.
Also read: Rent rose at the fastest pace in nine years in May
Yet most respondents believe the housing problem is solvable, and want policymakers to address it. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents from both parties say housing hasn’t received enough attention in the 2016 campaign.
Most people supported a range of proposed policies to support affordable housing, both rentals and purchase.
Policy step Support
Revise the tax code to help those earning $40,000-70,000 buy a home 81%
Expand housing support for low-income families with children 80%
Let developers build more units if they include some targeted to lower-income families 79%
Require communities to ensure 20% of housing is affordable to those earning less than $50,000 74%
Ensure programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit provide income assistance to cover housing costs 74%
Expand rental housing assistance 73%
Give renters a federal tax break similar to the mortgage interest deduction 70%
But people increasingly believe that owning a home is a “an excellent long-term investment.” Some 60% agreed with that statement, up from 56% a year ago and 50% in 2014.
Also read : Housing crisis has led to breakdown of the social order, author says
Access to stable, affordable housing - whether to rent or buy - is “about more than shelter,” the MacArthur Foundation noted in a release. “It is at the core of strong, vibrant, and healthy families and communities.”

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