Housing Trust Funds: Protecting Affordable Living

by Michael Anderson | November 26, 2013 2:03 pm

One of the most difficult hardships facing low-income people in the United States is the lack of affordable housing due to the gross mismatch between income and housing costs. This recent article in The New York Times describes what’s happening in San Francisco as newly minted Silicon Valley millionaires move into the city, driving up housing costs for long-time residents whose salaries cannot keep pace. The result has been a growing tide of eviction and displacement that is tearing at the fabric of San Francisco neighborhoods. “There has to be some kind of public support to make sure you don’t just have a city of the very wealthy, but people to make the city run,” said Kevin Starr, professor of history and policy, planning and development at the University of Southern California.

For San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the solution to providing public support was to establish a citywide housing trust fund with a robust, multi-year revenue source. In November 2012, 65 percent of San Francisco voters approved Proposition C, which will dedicate an estimated $1.3 billion to the city’s Housing Trust Fund in order to develop, rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing to people being priced out of the market. The model of a housing trust fund, which dedicates public revenue to meet specific housing needs, is a solution that hundreds of local and state governments have enacted and implemented. Today, more than 700 housing trust funds are in operation in cities, counties and states across the country, generating hundreds of millions each year for affordable housing.

Most housing trust funds are created as the result of a multi-year public campaign led by local housing advocates. And the vast majority of housing trust fund campaigns across the nation have received expert technical assistance from one source: the Housing Trust Fund Project of the Center for Community Change. The Housing Trust Fund Project is the only source of comprehensive information and ongoing technical assistance for housing trust fund campaigns.

Currently, 47 states have statewide housing trust funds. Between 2010 and 2012, 40 new housing trust funds were created and more than $450 million in revenues were added to existing housing trust funds Click here to read more about CCC’s Housing Trust Fund Project, and be sure to sign up for our e-news updates.

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