Govt Should Invest in Housing
Why should government be involved in housing? Isn’t that something the private sector takes care of? These questions are often raised by the general public, as well as some elected officials.
While for-profit developers build the overwhelming majority of our housing stock, it’s become harder and harder for low and moderate income households to afford market-rate housing in NoVA.
There is a mix-match between the type of housing that’s being built and what the market wants/can afford. In the future, we’ll need less single-family detached housing, and more affordable multifamily housing. Market preferences are for more compact, mixed use, transit-oriented communities, especially among millennials and downsizing baby boomers.
Incomes are not keeping pace with housing costs. While incomes have remained flat or up only slightly, housing costs have risen significantly.
So to help make the case for public sector participation, we’ve put together our top reasons why government should invest in housing:
Safe, decent affordable housing is the platform upon which family stability is built. When stability is maintained, households are more likely to achieve self-sufficiency;
Housing is infrastructure – like transportation, education, public safety and health – and requires public investment to ensure housing opportunities for people of all income levels;
A growing percentage of our workforce can’t afford to live in the community where they work. That’s a problem for recruitment and retention (just ask hospitals, school systems, small businesses to name a few);
Housing that’s affordable should be located near major transit corridors and job centers. If our workforce can live close to their jobs, we’ll have fewer cars on the road and less congestion;
Over the past decade, Northern Virginia has lost thousands of units of market-affordable housing, either through demolition or conversion to expensive market-rate housing. Unless we want to be a region of haves and have-nots, we need to build and preserve housing that affordable;
Equal access to opportunity, diversity and inclusion are driving principles for businesses of the future. Providing housing for our workforce at all income levels is key to our regional success.
Our economic viability as a region, and our ability to compete with other areas of the country for the jobs of the future, is dependent upon an adequate supply of housing that is affordable for low and moderate income households. Housing powers the economy!