Preserving, Protecting, and Expanding Affordable Housing

Preserving, Protecting, and Expanding Affordable Housing

A Policy Toolkit for Public Health

In recent decades, there has been a renewed interest in urban living. In many of the nation’s large cities, populations that were once stagnant or declining are now growing. Many of these cities are also experiencing new public and private investment. Residents are seeing new parks, bike lanes, and grocery stores, among other health-promoting services, become part of their neighborhood landscape.

New demand and investment are driving up housing costs, particularly in neighborhoods that have historically been affordable to low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Facing rising rents and home prices, residents living in these neighborhoods are forced to ask themselves difficult questions. Can we stretch our budget to pay more for our current housing? If so, where do we have to cut back? Or do we move? If we move, where do we go? And will we still have access to our jobs, schools, and community?

Stable, quality, affordable housing is central to the health of individuals, families, and communities. Without policies that ensure housing remains affordable to people of all incomes, longtime residents, particularly renters, are more at risk of displacement. Low-income households also have fewer opportunities to move to these urban neighborhoods or access their new investments.

Practitioners and community advocates working at the intersection of housing and health have a unique role to play in preserving, protecting, and expanding the number of affordable rental housing options in high-demand neighborhoods. ChangeLab Solutions has developed this comprehensive guide to help them. It has several components:

Policy Toolkit and Executive Summary: The toolkit provides information on housing market trends and research on the links between rising housing costs and poor health outcomes. It identifies strategies across six policy areas to help ensure that households of all incomes have housing options in the areas where they want to live. The policy areas are preservation, protection, inclusion, revenue generation, incentives, and property acquisition.

Overview for Local Health Departments: This companion overview is designed to help local health departments support efforts to address affordable housing shortages. It highlights specific local health departments that have addressed rising housing costs in their communities.

Learn more about these resources and other efforts to protect affordable housing that are funded by The Kresge Foundation. For more information on linking housing to public health, check out our Primer on Qualified Allocation Plans, and Building In Healthy Infill, our guide for improving public health through development. Contact us to learn more.