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Housing expert shares approach for resolving the housing crisis

Row Housing Development Memphis, TN
Wikimedia Commons
Row Housing Development Memphis, TN

Communities across the country, and here in West Michigan, are struggling with tackling the housing crisis. One housing expert visited Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center sharing his comprehensive approach for putting housing within reach

Resolving the housing shortage begins with prioritizing supply, stability, and subsidy. Shane Phillips is an urban planner, policy expert and author of The Affordable City.

“Supply is really just building enough housing as a sort of baseline condition. Stability is making sure that we’re protecting vulnerable households and affordable housing that we already have. And then subsidies are spending the money on new construction, on rent assistance on other kinds of services and developments that are needed that the market, or that just regulation alone, isn’t going to solve.”

Leave out any one of the three S’s.

“We’re going to leave a lot of people behind, and actually, the policies we create, and the programs we create, are going to conflict with each other. They’re going to undermine each other because there’s a lot of tension between something like zoning changes to build new housing and rent stabilization to protect tenants. And it’s not to say that you can’t have both of those things, and I actually argue that you should have both of those things, but if you don’t consider them in tandem, together, you’re going to do harm pursuing one goal at the expense of another.”

Phillips explains when it comes to housing policy and affordability, parties involved know what needs to be done to fix it.

“Housing affordability is something we all need to prioritize and maybe put a little less emphasis on home value.”

The challenge is convincing advocates, builders, homeowners, and policymakers – just to name a few - to agree that’s the core priority.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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