NPR Covers Affordable Housing Challenges Across the Country

NPR is running a series of stories on affordable housing challenges across the country, with common themes including a construction labor shortage, rising costs of building materials, a shortage of undeveloped land, and an increasing amount of regulation that limits housing development. The first article highlights Boise, Idaho, where demand is 10 times higher than the number of homes being built, and 65 percent of homes for sale are on the upper end of the market. The town may seek to use voter-approved bonds as a way to address the need for more affordable housing. The second article explores the 31 percent gap between white and black homeownership in Baltimore, a city where two-thirds of the population is African-American. Urban Institute Vice President for Housing Finance Policy Alanna McCargo notes that addressing issues related to black homeownership are not only about black households being able to purchase homes going forward, but also about enabling black homeowners to maintain their homeownership and build and transfer wealth within families. The third article explores the unique challenges of building and preserving affordable housing in rural communities, where the high costs of materials combined with a shortage of construction workers and other contractors makes it difficult to build enough housing to keep up with the demand. In Ogallala, Nebraska, local groups are planning to ask voters to approve a reallocation of local sales tax to build more workforce housing and offer incentives for developers.

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