Housing policy is a significant issue that confronts local and federal governments. However, it is not a single factor but encompasses multiple overlapping concerns. To ensure that every individual gets a decent place in society, housing plays a vital role. However, a vast majority of individuals face a shortage of affordable housing.
The workforce population living with stagnant wages is hard-pressed by the high rent of houses and expenses on other essential commodities. These low-income families have an area median income of 60 to 120%. However, the housing wages are always high.
Hence, they are disadvantaged and can least afford luxurious apartments. Policymakers are thereby coming up with multiple tools for addressing affordability-related concerns. The zoning ordinance, rent control, and targeted subsidies are some of the most critical steps undertaken by the federal government worldwide.
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🖋 Government’s definition of affordable housing
If you look at reports of housing departments, you will see affordable housing defined as a household that obtains 30% of the income. However, Maxwell Drever explains that the percentage varies from one region to another. A household is seen as low income when it makes less than 80% of the area median income. Hence, these dwellings are for low-income families.
🖋 Ways of making housing affordable for every section of society
Housing affordability is top of their priority list of all the policies federal governments have initiated. Let’s assess these in detail:
- Governments must come forward to provide discounted housing and money to the low-income group. Families may receive low-rent houses and can afford better education and healthcare amenities.
- Policymakers may increase the number of households in metropolitan areas. Relaxing restrictions and giving a mandate on the minimum size of the dwelling unit can solve the issue.
Political activists and governments are interested in using inclusionary zoning and rent control policies to solve housing affordability. However, these tools have their restrictions. Something more needs to be done to make affordable housing a reality.
🖋 How does affordable housing affect various sections of society?
Any approach in this direction cannot ignore different sections of society. If you look at the supply side, you will see that there is always a gap between demand and supply. The unsubsidized, costly and unregulated market plays an important role here, reflects Maxwell Drever.
The workforce population with the employers and municipal corporations are worst affected by the shortage of affordable workforce housing. Hence, regulatory measures along with subsidies are necessary for changing this scenario.
🖋 What about a zoning program?
As already mentioned, zoning programs come as regulations governing suburban and urban land. These come as restrictions and strict rules on the construction industry. Hence, relaxation of the zoning protocol is necessary to cater to the requirement of the workforce population.
In the present scenario, a combined effort of the public and private institutions is necessary to curb this menace of the housing shortage. In this direction, proper steps become necessary to regulate the zoning protocol and relax the sub-urbanization trend.