As the affordable housing crisis in the United States continues to grow, some housing experts are beginning to challenge the power longtime homeowners have over lower-class renters.
“So many cities are seeing long-standing pro-ownership policies come face to face with growth,” says Randy Shaw, housing activist and author of Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America. "Cities like Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, and Austin all face similar problems as San Francisco. The nation perceived this as a problem that was only in certain cities, and now it’s spread.”
Part of Arizona's Growing Pains
The Metro Phoenix area is consistently ranked as one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. But with growing populations comes growing problems.
According to a study put out by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, while more than 250,000 Arizona renters qualify for housing assistance, only 17 percent of them receive aid to offset the cost of rent. That leaves approximately 225,000 low-income renters pay more than half o their income for housing.
Nationwide Problems, Local Solutions
Members of Congress like Senators including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren have included detailed housing reform plans as part of their political platform. Others, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, have pushed for raising the minimum wage, a move that would allow renters to put less of their paycheck into rent, and more into saving
City leaders are also beginning to take action and work towards solutions to aid those negatively affected by high housing costs. Seattle, Denver, Portland San Francisco, and Austin have joined other municipalities across the country in implementing pro-growth policies like housing bonds.
“There’s been a wakeup call around America,” he says. “This book is based on the idea that cities can make a change and make this work.”