BPC Blog

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Among the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Housing Commission’s proposals for creating a balanced housing policy, one stands out as the most critical in meeting the needs of low-income renters. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) is responsible for virtually all affordable apartment development, and BPC’s recommendation to expand it by 50 percent recognizes its unmatched record of success and the increasing need for the program in today’s housing landscape.

According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, there is a 6.4 million-unit gap between the number of low-income renters who need affordable housing and the number of affordable apartments available. A recent HUD study also shows that a record 8.5 million very low-income families have worst case housing needs (paying over half of their incomes in rent and/or living in severely inadequate housing) in 2011, representing a steady increase since 2007. The BPC’s recommendation is our best hoping of narrowing this affordable supply gap by creating up to 400,000 new units over ten years.

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Americans pride themselves on being able to fulfill what they have called the American Dream since the founding of the nation – whether in owning land or a home, the best health, equal justice for all, economic mobility, the best education, the best conditions of freedom and safety to pass on to their family, etc. This has been limited for many of them however, because of various discriminations, along with the politics of power with its economic, legal, and social distribution of preferences. Policy makers frequently find themselves in the middle of choices and trade-offs, and the BPC Housing Commission is no different in trying to set a course between strategic goals and low-hanging fruit of near-term pragmatic objectives with the present demands and needs as expressed by the interest groups represented on the Commission.

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s recent white paper, Housing America’s Future, raised some familiar discussion topics in the housing debate such as how to reform our current government-dependent housing finance system into one that moves us more toward private capital. The study also rightfully highlighted the challenges of meeting our growing affordable rental housing needs. But the study’s highlight of the situation of the Echo Boom generation (our senior citizen population) provided a fresh and unique insight into the housing needs and desires of this growing demographic.

Foremost, the study recognized the common desire among seniors to “age in place.” In meeting this goal and additional needs while maintaining affordability, senior homeowners face the challenges of fixed incomes, rising property taxes and unexpected housing-related costs. The study cited that over five million seniors spend half of their income on housing.

To solicit public opinion from around the country, the Commission on Political Reform (CPR) will propose a series of questions ahead of each of the national conversations. At these events, CPR will aggregate comments and questions from the social web and incorporate them into the program in real time.

Question

Do you think Congress should address issues piecemeal or attempt comprehensive solutions? Which route lends itself to more bipartisanship and why?

Performance-Based Management: An Important Tool in Tight Budgetary Times

By Barbara Sard

Among the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report, the highest priority for immediate action should be to evaluate the performance of administrators of all federal rental assistance programs based on outcomes. Why highlight something so seemingly bureaucratic? Because a shift to outcome-based performance measurement — if accompanied by real consequences for poor performance — is the most potent tool to ratchet up the effectiveness of current programs that is relatively low cost and largely within HUD’s control.

Counseling can help families decide whether they are prepared for the obligations of homeownership

The BPC Housing Commission believes that counseling and education must be a central part of a more responsible approach to homeownership, particularly for first-time buyers.

I first learned about the benefits of housing counseling from NeighborWorks America, one of our country’s leading community development organizations. In 2007, then-Senator Dodd and I sponsored legislation supporting NeighborWorks’ efforts to help forestall foreclosure for struggling families.

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

BPC’s proposal to increase funding to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by 50 percent presents an exciting opportunity to preserve and improve even more housing for low-income populations across the nation. For every new affordable apartment created, two are lost due to deterioration, abandonment or conversion to more expensive housing. Without preserving existing affordable housing, we fall two steps back for every step we take forward. The LIHTC saves homes while simultaneously creating jobs and tax revenue. Increasing its funding merits the highest priority among BPC’s recommendations.

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Among its comprehensive package of prescriptions for addressing America’s housing challenges, the BPC Housing Commission report offers one powerful, low-cost, readily implementable recommendation which could quickly and measurably improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal rental assistance programs now serving some 5 million Americans: Refocus from process to performance.

Historically, most federal rental programs have emphasized housing providers’ compliance with prescriptive, often burdensome regulations, with very little reference to the programs’ actual impacts on residents’ lives. The BPC report suggests this old compliance model should be traded in for “a new performance-based system for delivering federal rental assistance that focuses on outcomes for participating households, while offering high-performing providers greater flexibility.”

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Among the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report, the highest priority for immediate action should be to evaluate the performance of administrators of all federal rental assistance programs based on outcomes. Why highlight something so seemingly bureaucratic? Because a shift to outcome-based performance measurement — if accompanied by real consequences for poor performance — is the most potent tool to ratchet up the effectiveness of current programs that is relatively low cost and largely within HUD’s control.

Such a cultural transformation would benefit low-income families and help the programs in the “survival of the fittest” competition for funding that will result from the 2011 Budget Control Act’s (BCA) tight ten-year caps on discretionary funding.

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