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January 20, 2021  

Public Housing and the Housing Crisis

January 20, 2021

In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, journalist and novelist Ross Barkan wrote about public housing and the housing crisis. An eviction crisis is looming, Barkan wrote, staved off only by an eviction moratorium. But that moratorium will eventually expire. “When it does, a crushing housing emergency could descend on America—as many as 40 million Americans will be in danger of eviction.”

Barkan goes on to say the federal government must play an important role in addressing the short-term crisis as well the underlying problems in the housing market. One “major step,” according to Barkan, would be to repeal "an obscure 22-year-old addition to the Housing Act of 1937, the Faircloth Amendment. Passed in an era when the reputation of housing projects was at a low, the amendment prohibits any net increase in public-housing units.” The repeal of Faircloth is a regular feature in progressive proposals, including the Green New Deal and other efforts by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In this week’s episode of Upzoned, host Abby Kinney, an urban planner in Kansas City, is joined by regular co-host Chuck Marohn, the founder and president of Strong Towns, as well as by Strong Towns senior editor Daniel Herriges. The three of them discuss the Faircloth Amendment and the role of the federal government in addressing the housing crisis. They talk about where a federal response could align with a Strong Towns response, the problems with supersized solutions, and to what extent repealing Faircloth will address the underlying dysfunctions in the housing market.

Then in the Downzone, Daniel says he’s finally reading E.F. Schumacher, Chuck talks about a course he’s starting on the plague, and Abby discusses a show she’s been binge-watching, a terrifying psychological thriller.

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