Back to Basics

The FWD #156 • 278 Words

Get your #2 pencils ready. We’re taking you back to housing school.

If you’re a parent, you’re probably counting down until the first day of school already. (If you’re a student, you might feel a little differently.) But don’t worry—we’ll make sure you’re included in the fun by cracking open the housing textbooks and bringing the lessons straight to your inbox.

Starting a little later this summer, we’ll launch a new Back to Basics edition of The FWD where we’ll do our best to provide clear, concise, 101-level explanations of common affordable housing concepts. Look for the inaugural post in a few weeks, followed by a new edition every month.

Why are we doing this? Because the pandemic made it clear that housing is now a top tier public policy priority. Among many encouraging signs, the inclusion of housing as a core element of recent congressional spending proposals signals that lawmakers are ready for solutions. That means we need to dot our i’s and cross our t’s in order to communicate effectively.

What’s on the syllabus? We have some ideas in mind already, like:

  • Measuring and explaining cost burden
  • What inclusionary zoning can and can’t do
  • ADUs: what they are and where you can build them
  • How the LIHTC program works
  • Where recent investments in housing are coming from
  • How state and federal agencies support first-time homebuyers
  • How community land trusts work
  • How land banks can turn vacant land into community resources

But we need you to tell us what’s most important. What programs, policies, and issues do you find most challenging to explain to policymakers? Let us know by dropping us a note in the coming days.

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