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Despite the current housing crisis in the United States, there are some signs of hope on the horizon. Votes for levies and support for the YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) movement indicate a desire for change among policymakers. While the YIMBY movement tends to favor public housing and spending programs like Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the positive language they use could potentially lead to real change in housing policy. Embracing concepts such as legalizing housing and repealing zoning restrictions could help shift efforts towards reducing impediments to housing production.

Another alternative path for housing is through cooperatives and Community Land Trusts (CLTs). Cooperatives allow for the fractional ownership of real property, providing regular people with the opportunity to build equity. The language and structure of cooperatives appeal to those concerned with housing policy, offering a sensible way to address the current crisis. Local governments will also need to innovate in order to find creative solutions for those living in improvised housing. This may involve changing shelters to be healthier and more accommodating, as well as adapting land use codes to allow for private entities like CLTs to address the housing shortage.

States can play a more active role in setting local housing policy, preempting issues such as rent control to prevent regressive proposals. Ohio’s legislation preempting rent control was aimed at addressing restrictive zoning and land use regulations that limit market rate supply and inefficient subsidy programs. By encouraging cities to explore better ways of helping families with housing needs, states can create more uniform and broadly applicable housing policies. It will be crucial to dig deep into public opinion and shift people’s thinking towards embracing new solutions rather than resorting to the easy solution of dumping more money on the problem.

In order to build on these bright spots, it will be essential to conduct further research on public opinion and proposed solutions to the housing crisis. By investing in pilot programs such as cooperative housing, policymakers can gather evidence of success and persuade more investment in alternative housing solutions. It will require a shift in perspective and a willingness to explore new ideas, rather than simply relying on traditional methods of addressing housing issues. With continued effort and innovation, there is hope for change in housing policy and a brighter future for those in need of affordable housing in the United States.

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