Zoning reform, while decidedly unsexy, is probably one of the more important issues in America when it comes to reducing poverty. Housing is expensive and there’s no way to subsidize enough for everyone — we have to break down the barriers to building more while we’re subsidizing more. So I’m glad to see that HUD Secretary Ben Carson is at least talking about the issue and that Elizabeth Warren has put forth a proposal to break down some of the barriers, discussed here by Rachel Cohen:
This week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, one of the most far-reaching federal housing bills in decades. The legislation calls for a half-trillion dollar investment in affordable housing over the next 10 years, creating up to 3.2 million new units for low- and middle-income families.
The bill also expands the protections of decades-old legislation to reduce discriminatory banking, ban housing discrimination, and desegregate neighborhoods. For example, Warren’s bill would make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against renters with federal housing vouchers, and would also impose new regulations on credit unions and nonbank mortgage lenders like Quicken Loans. The bill also incentivizes states and localities to loosen their racist and discriminatory zoning restrictions; eases the path for low-income families to move into more affluent communities; and provides federal assistance to first-time homebuyers from formerly segregated areas and those who saw their wealth decimated in the 2008 financial crisis.