Economic Development

Brown Among Mayors Discussing Housing Crisis in NLC Report

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor Jamael Tito Brown is among the city leaders from across the country whose collaborative work offers policy actions aimed at improving the affordability of housing nationwide.

“Affordable housing is critical to citizens of communities like Youngstown, to sustain their quality of life for their families,” Brown said in a statement. “We look forward to finding housing solutions that plague families across this country.”

Released by the National League of Cities, “Homeward Bound: The road to affordable housing” provides five recommendations that cities of all sizes – from Youngstown to Gary, Ind., to Oakland, Calif. – can adopt, as well as five national housing policy recommendations. 

“The housing crisis looks different in every city, town and village,” saidthe league’s president and Mayor of Gary, Ind., Karen Freeman-Wilson. “Growing cities with robust housing markets have different concerns than legacy cities that have seen jobs dissipate and housing quality deteriorate. We embrace the fact that one of the primary responsibilities of a local leader is to ensure that residents have a place to call home.”

The recommendations for cities are:

  • Establish local programs by combining funding and financing streams to support housing goals.
  • Modernize local land use policies, including zoning and permitting, to rebalance housing supply and demand.
  • Identify and engage broadly with local stakeholders; and coordinate across municipal boundaries, to develop a plan to provide housing opportunities for all.
  • Support the needs of distinct sub-populations including the homeless, seniors and persons with conviction histories.
  • Prioritize equitable outcomes in housing decision as it is an essential component for success.

Nationally, there is “overwhelming support for greater federal investment for affordable housing,” the league said in its report. Ninety-five percent of Democrats say affordable housing should be a national priority, as well as 73% of Republicans and 87% of unaffiliated voters.

The report’s national recommendations are:

  • Immediately stabilize and stem the loss of public and affordable housing.
  • Follow emergency intervention with passage of a long-term, stand-alone federal housing bill that authorizes ten years of new funding for pilot programs that advance housing for all.
  • Support innovation and modernization of land-use and planning at the local and regional level.
  • Fix inequities in housing development and the housing finance system.
  • Support scalable innovation and financing for cities, towns and villages.

“When residents have stable living conditions, the benefits are apparent — students do better in school and health outcomes improve,” the National League of Cities said. “Communities benefit as a whole from this stability. Opportunities for investment growth and economic prosperity develop when sustainable housing serves the needs of residents across generations and income levels.”

The full report is available here.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.