As cities across the country struggle with rising housing costs and displacement, public recognition of the need for affordable housing is increasing. At the same time, organizers and activists--led by working-class people of color--are proposing bold, community-controlled solutions, and keeping a key question at the forefront: “Affordable for whom?” Current housing policies fail to address the underlying speculative forces driving the housing crisis, and do not provide homes affordable to extremely low-income people--often defined as those who earn 30 percent or less of their Area Median Incomes (AMI). Given these shortcomings, achieving deep affordability remains a major challenge for groups around the country who are fighting for non-speculative approaches to housing and land stewardship.
While this disconnect between a vision for deep, permanent affordability and available housing finance and policy tools presents a serious obstacle, it is not insurmountable. Coalitions of activists, practitioners, and academics around the country have successfully created deep affordability--even in expensive land markets--through community land trusts, cooperatives, mutual housing associations, tenant associations, and much more. Drawing on this long history of organizing, advocacy, and innovation in the shared-equity and right to housing movements, Affordable For Whom? will facilitate an exchange of knowledge, practices, and strategies for building community power and reaching deep, permanent affordability.
Affordable For Whom? is a two-day convening focused on the development and preservation of housing that is permanently affordable to the communities to whom our organizations are accountable. These groups include people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, people of color, extremely low-income renters, mobile home residents, and others who are systematically excluded from accessing land and housing. Conference activities will include panel discussions, popular education activities, and strategy and planning sessions related to four interrelated elements of deeply, permanently affordable housing:
Innovative models of community-controlled land and housing
Stewardship practices that support permanent affordability
Creative financing and funding for deeply affordable housing
Public policies determined by community priorities
CUNY School of Law