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Housing Expert Forum: Setting Priorities and Identifying Opportunities for Action

Welcome to the BPC Housing Commission expert forum! This forum is intended to foster interactive and substantive discussion about pressing housing issues. Each month contributors from different parts of the housing sector will be invited to respond to a discussion topic.

Guest posts are shared regularly with Housing Commissioners to help inform their work.

Have a pressing question you’d like us to consider? Please leave it in the comments section. We encourage you and our expert bloggers to add comments, contributing to the national dialogue on solutions for the future of the housing sector.

Expert bloggers are not members of the BPC Housing Commission. Any views expressed on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Housing Commission, its Co-Chairs, or the Bipartisan Policy Center.


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

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.

Read the full post here.

Addressing the Housing Needs of Rural America

By Joe Belden

The BPC’s Housing Commission issued an excellent report on February 25. All parts of the report are important, balanced and well-researched, and all should receive the highest priority. But for rural housing practitioners such as the Housing Assistance Council, Chapter 5 of the report, “The Importance of Rural Housing,” includes very significant information and recommendations.

We congratulate the Commission and especially commend Senator Bond for his support for rural housing and his very strong presentation at the release event.

Read the full post here.

BPC’s Recommendation to Expand Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Key to Addressing Affordable Housing Crisis

By Emily Cadik

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.

Read the full post here.

Elevating Performance Over Process

By Amy Anthony

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.”

Read the full post here.

Protecting Senior Housing

By Brian Montgomery

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.

Read the full post here.