Housing is a key determinant in one’s access to quality education, work, environment, health, and security. Yet private homeownership — touted as the primary means of acquiring financial wealth and security for everyday Americans — has become increasingly elusive, as exploitation of the housing market by real estate speculators, corporate landlords, and Wall Street drives wealth inequality and reinforces a social caste system that locks people — especially Black, Indigenous, migrant communities and women and gender nonconforming people — into poverty and out of opportunity.
Democratically-governed housing models — including community land trusts, housing cooperatives, and resident-owned communities — can address the root causes of displacement by removing land from the speculative market and ensure access to affordable, safe, quality housing. These models support development without displacement, making sure that residents — not private developers — are in control of determining the future of their communities.
Federal, state, and local governments must embrace the following public policies that support community land trusts, housing cooperatives, resident-owned communities, and other models that help lock in permanent affordability and ensure community control.