To maximize profits, the real estate industry has long pushed a trickle-down, luxury-housing agenda, fueling gentrification and the housing affordability crisis. It’s time for a shift — to more humane, logical housing policies that help, rather than harm, middle- and working-class residents. Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation advocate for the “3 Ps.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its housing advocacy division, Housing Is A Human Right, have seen firsthand the street-level devastation caused by gentrification and the housing affordability crisis. We seek to implement solutions that more directly, and urgently, bring relief to middle- and working-class residents getting slammed by unfair rents and gentrification.
To that end, it’s crucial to protect tenants, preserve communities, and produce housing.
We protect tenants by preventing gentrification and homelessness by keeping rents under control and discouraging evictions.
We preserve communities by supporting progressive, sustainable land-use policies that maintain neighborhood integrity and allow working- and middle-class families to stay in their communities.
We produce housing by building truly affordable housing through adaptive reuse and cost-effective new construction. Increased funding from federal, state, and local governments to construct housing for the middle- and working-class is also needed.
The 3 Ps — protect tenants, preserve communities, and produce housing — fundamentally address the housing affordability crisis and gentrification.
California and others states are not dealing with a luxury-housing crisis. They’re facing a housing affordability crisis. Trickle-down housing, which pushes for the mass construction of luxury housing for an affordability crisis, is a harmful, illogical solution pushed by the real estate industry and politicians who take campaign cash from Big Real Estate.
Professor Richard Florida, an urban planning guru, recently wrote that “the markets—and neighborhoods—for luxury and affordable housing are very different, and it is unlikely that any increases in high-end supply would trickle down to less advantaged groups.”
Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell further explained, “There’s a growing divide in the rental market right now. Very high demand at the low end of the market is being met with more supply at the high end, an imbalance that will only contribute to growing affordability concerns for all renters. We’re simply not building enough at the bottom and middle of the rental market to keep up with demand.”
Yet the real estate industry refuses to listen. Why? The trickle-down housing agenda generates massive revenue for developers and corporate landlords — regardless of the negative impacts on middle- and working-class residents, such as gentrification and sky-high rents.
(Read the Housing Is A Human Right special report “The Garcetti-fication of Los Angeles: A Gentrification Cautionary Tale.”)
“To explain gentrification according to the gentrifier’s preferences alone,” wrote Neil Smith, the prominent anthropology and geology professor, in his landmark book The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City, “while ignoring the role of builders, developers, landlords, mortgage lenders, government agencies, real estate agents—gentrifiers as producers—is excessively narrow. A broader theory of gentrification must take the role of the producers as well as the consumers into account, and when this is done it appears that the needs of production—in particular the need to earn profit—are a more decisive initiative behind gentrification than consumer preference.”
Politicians also advance the real estate industry’s agenda. State and local legislators accept eye-popping sums of campaign monies from developers, landlords, land-use attorneys, lobbyists, and others. Big Real Estate, like other industries, holds too much sway over politicians — and over land-use policies. The real estate industry games the housing market to its favor.
(Read the Housing Is A Human Right special report “Selling Out California: Scott Wiener’s Money Ties to Big Real Estate.”)
We must have community-based, people-over-profits solutions that directly address the housing affordability crisis and the causes behind it. The 3 Ps put middle- and working-class residents first.