Housing is an issue at the forefront of hundreds of millions of American minds, yet it still didn't become a central issue in the presidential election. Now that we have a president-elect, it's time to beg the question: what does the future of housing policy look like?
While names for staff appointments to the State, Treasury, and Defense departments have been swirling, HUD hasn't received a lot of attention—yet. The few names that have been tossed around are former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown; Pamela Patenaude, president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America's Families; and Robert Astorino, the Republican county executive of Westchester County, N.Y., who's known for attacking HUD.
As Kriston Capps writes for CityLab, there's a lot at stake. Tax reform, particularly regarding the low-income tax credit (LIHTC) program, could make or break housing policy's effect. The budget for federal housing policy has been on the decline since the 1990s, and it's likely that Congress could cut or eliminate the LIHTC. The other problem is the budget, and to support the elimination of sequestration for defense spending, Congress will need to cut more programs, like housing support, to fund it.
Capps says, however, that housing policy is one of the rare opportunities Trump has to create a win-win for rural and inner-city families. Both of these communities have suffered decreased federal assistance for housing and have an aging housing stock that won't hold up well into the future:
During the campaign, President-elect Trump spoke often about America’s inner-city residents. Improving the lots of white rural Americans and black urban Americans means similar investments in infrastructure and affordable housing, albeit scaled to different needs. Many of the tools for doing so can be found at HUD, and President-elect Trump will soon decide whether to embrace them or neglect them.