A new book is calling for a renewed commitment to affordable housing as the nation nears another important election and, in 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the start of a period of widespread urban unrest as well as the founding of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Rebuilding a Dream picks up where previous coverage of the foreclosure crisis left off to put the nation’s housing crisis in perspective, says author Andre Shashaty, president of Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting land-use reform, including infill transit-oriented development. Shashaty was the founder and editor of Affordable Housing Finance magazine for 15 years. “I wrote the book because after the foreclosure crisis a number of authors wrote about the very narrow issue of mortgage lending and mortgage securitization,” he says. “But I felt they had missed the bigger picture—the problems with our ability to produce housing at prices and rents that middle-income and lower-income folks can afford. Rebuilding a Dream is my attempt to put things in perspective, going back to the initiatives of the 1960s, taking us through the problem with foreclosure, and all the way up to the current focus on budget cutting over pro-active policymaking. To me, the issue of housing ties directly into the issue of income inequality and the debate over whether lower-income people and minorities can still expect to be upwardly mobile.”
In looking back at what government programs have achieved, the book describes some of the most notable successes, including the low-income housing tax credit. At the same time, Shashaty details the “housing affordability gap” and the failure of government at all levels to deal with it.
“I see the book as a warning that our governments can’t be on autopilot when it comes to housing,” he says. “They need to recognize that the foreclosure crisis was a symptom of a broken system, and that it’s time to do what we should have done 10 years ago and formulate some long-term strategies and policies to make sure more people can afford housing and fewer people end up homeless.”
The book calls for a change in attitude and awareness of the need to deal with housing issues.
“We can revitalize our cities and fix our broken housing markets,” Shashaty writes. “We can give every one of our citizens a chance at a better life. We are doing it, just not on a large enough scale and not with any consistency, and not with any assurance at all of continued federal support.”
To order or find out more information about Rebuilding a Dream, click here.