LAWRENCE — With real estate prices soaring across the United States and a wave of evictions soon possible due to the end of pandemic protections, a University of Kansas housing expert says three key changes are needed to housing policy to ensure housing remains affordable and available to low-income Americans.
Kirk McClure, professor emeritus of public affairs & administration at KU, was invited by the journal Housing Policy Debate to provide recommendations to the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. McClure, who is available to discuss the recommendations, policy and housing with the media, offered three key suggestions:
- Expanding the Housing Choice Voucher Program
- Redesigning the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program
- Giving the Department of Housing and Urban Development oversight of the LIHTC program.
More assistance is needed to help renters avoid eviction and to prevent middle- and low-income renters from being priced out of the market, he said.
“About one in seven renters are believed to be behind in their rent. In most housing markets, we have enough units. As a result, a shortage of housing is not the cause of the housing affordability problem,” McClure said. “The problem is that we have so many renters who have such low, and often very unstable, income that almost any housing is unaffordable to them. Expanding rental assistance programs is what is needed now to prevent a huge wave of evictions.”
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, the nation’s largest affordable housing production program, needs change as well, McClure said.
“It tends to serve the least worst off of the poor and does little to promote movement of poor households to high-opportunity integrated neighborhoods,” he said of LIHTC. “With skillful application of rental assistance and better program administration, the LIHTC program could better serve the nation’s housing goals.”
Housing Policy Debate is the nation’s leading housing policy publication. With each new presidential administration, it invites housing experts to make recommendations for policy to cabinet members and policymakers. McClure, a member of the journal’s board of editors, has done extensive research and writing on federal housing programs, was a scholar in residence at HUD’s Department of Policy Development and Research and holds multiple degrees in urban planning. He can discuss housing policy of the current and previous administrations, eviction protections and related topics.