Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this story from Pacific Standard, author Sophie Kasakove discusses whether or not rent control bills are the solution to the affordable housing crisis.
• How would the passage of these bills affect the priorities of housing and tenant advocates?
• To learn about Elizabeth Warren’s plan for taking on the affordable housing crisis, click here.
For the first time in decades, rent control is under serious consideration by lawmakers across the country. According to a report published last week by advocacy groups Center for Popular Democracy, Right to the City Alliance, and PolicyLink, if rent-control measures pass in all of the states and cities where they’re currently on the table, nearly a third of all renter households in the United States could secure relief from the worst of the housing crisis.
Rent-control advocates across the country are clear that the policy is not the only solution to the housing crisis, nor necessarily the most effective: Locking in rents that are already severely unaffordable may not provide housing security for the lowest-income renters. But the report argues that it is the most efficient affordable housing solution.
Rent control has also been, historically, the cheapest option to provide affordable housing: In 2013, Berkeley stabilized 19,000 units for only $4 million, compared with the $20 million it would have cost to provide vouchers to the city’s 2,200 lowest-income renter households, or the $220 million it would have cost to build or rehabilitate 2,200 affordable units. With the Department of Housing and Urban Development crippled by budget cuts, quicker, cheaper fixes are an increasingly crucial stopgap.
The national mood on rent control is shifting quickly, led by Oregon. Just last week, the state became the first in the country to adopt mandatory statewide rent control, limiting yearly rent increases to 7 percent and banning no-cause evictions. Across the state, median rent has increased rapidly in recent years, pushing the state into second place in the country for homelessness.
Read the full article about rent control by Sophie Kasakove at Pacific Standard.
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