Giving Compass' Take:

Many lower-income people experience barriers to homeownership because of methods put in place by large banks and mortgage companies.

What are other ways we can offer access to affordable housing beside the models listed below? What are some problems that prevent access to affordable housing in your community? 

There are many approaches to address affordable housing problems. Utilizing community support services is a widely popular strategy. 

At the core of the American housing system of today is the fundamental belief that housing should be a vehicle for private wealth creation. Privately owned housing on the market makes up 96.3% of the total housing stock in the U.S. Homeownership, once one of the surest ways for a family to accumulate wealth, has declined across the country; rates dropped to 63.4% in 2016, their lowest since 1967. Big banks and mortgage companies attach stringent criteria and high interest rates to loans that often lock lower-income people out of buying a home.

So instead, they’re forced into the rental market. As wages have stagnated and property costs have continued to rise, an astonishing number of Americans struggle to afford monthly payments. Almost half of all renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent, which is the ratio the federal government deems affordable.  Homeowners aren’t any better off: Around 41% are struggling to make mortgage payments, and risking foreclosure as a result.

Right to the City Alliance, a nonprofit focused on creating equitable urban areas, and its Homes for All Campaign, which advocates for affordable, dignified housing for all, details four models of “decommodified housing” (in other words, housing that is a place to live, not an investment vehicle) that have proven, in other countries, to provide stability to families struggling to afford a place to live.

These four models follow the organizations’ Just Housing principles, which both Right to the City and Homes for All believe are necessary for creating truly affordable and dignified housing: community control, affordability, permanence, inclusivity, and health and sustainability.

  1. Limited Equity Cooperatives
  2. Community Lands Trusts
  3. Tenement Syndicates
  4. Mutual Aid Housing Cooperatives

Read more about fixing the broken housing system by Eillie Anzilotti at Fast Company