Public dollars spent on affordable housing should be used to produce to the most public good. This very important story from NPR shines a light on the the role of middlemen and investors in the affordable housing market.
While the report concedes that many projects are done well and efficiently use public dollars, it questions why the total subsidy for affordable housing nationwide has produced less units, even when additional construction costs are factored. The report also points out only 17% of projects nationwide are in high-opportunity areas, and that in some cities, over 90% of projects are in low-income and high-crime areas. The benefit is that these projects are less likely to be derailed by public opposition. But just because it's the easier route doesn't mean it's the right one.
Minneapolis should work with its partners in the state and federal government to create a model for the rest of the nation. Housing projects here should be funded to ensure maximum affordability but closely scrutinized to make sure every dollar goes to improving affordability. Our programs should be regularly audited, and development should occur both efficiently and in places that provide maximum opportunity for those that need affordable housing.
Affordable housing is the issue I care most about. Together with a strong public education, safe neighborhoods, and a robust social safety net, I believe that reliable shelter creates the foundation from which individuals and families can rise. It's critical that these programs are run for the benefit of those who need them most, not those who are most able to work the system to their financial advantage.
— Jacob Frey