As we move through the second quarter of 2019, it’s becoming clear that a new era in housing policy is upon us. Nationally, major institutions like Freddie Mac, HUD and the Brookings Institute are leading a conversation that highlights affordability, restrictive zoning and housing supply as mainstream policy priorities for all levels of government to address. States like California are battling the housing crises with legal actions forcing local governments to adjust their rules. Furthermore, California’s legislature is debating a major legislative initiative that would upend elements of local zoning control.
Here in Minnesota, the Legislature took a major step forward with the creation of the Legislative Commission on Housing Affordability. Additionally, the Minnesota Senate created the Select Committee on Homeownership Affordability and Availability.
This constellation of movements in the housing policy space is more than a consensus that a problem exists; it’s the clearest indication yet that our state is entering a new era in housing policy.
This is welcomed news for the housing industry and the homeowners relying on our ability to supply a housing market with an array of choices and price points. Today, homeowners in Minnesota face dueling crises: affordability and availability. These challenges are deeply interconnected and rooted in structural challenges that have accrued over several decades. Fixing this won’t be easy, but it can be done.
As Housing First Minnesota readies for this new era, we are guided by the principle goal of creating housing that is safe, durable and affordable for households across Minnesota. That may sound simple, but it really isn’t. Most policies impacting housing lack this essential balance and were developed and debated in a silo. They were disconnected from the dozens of other rules and requirements throughout the housing regulatory landscape.
The new era in housing policy gives us a chance to fix this with a new and better way. If stakeholders and elected leaders can come together around the table to find a proper balance, we have a chance to make some real progress.
Let’s get to work!