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GREEN SOCIAL HOUSING AT SCALE

How a Federal Green Social Housing Development Authority Can Build, Repair,
and Finance Homes for All

By Gianpaolo Baiocchi (NYU), Jake Carlson (Kean University), Ruthy Gourevitch (Climate and Community Project), Daniel Aldana Cohen (UC Berkeley)

June 2024

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Every day, millions of Americans struggle to find housing they can afford. Climate change makes finding stable housing even more precarious for low-income renters in the US. The only way out of our housing and climate crises is through a massive investment in housing as a public good: by developing a national green social housing agenda. We propose the creation of a federal Green Social Housing Development Authority (Green SHDA) to build and preserve millions of homes outside of the predatory real estate market, allowing people to have a permanent roof over their heads, to have a stronger voice in their community,  and to live safely in our changing climate.

 

Importantly, the Green SHDA will help ensure that people can stay in their communities without fearing rent hikes. It will foster housing stability for people who are unhoused or housing insecure. It will create new options for long-term housing stability at a time when homeownership is increasingly out of reach. It will build hundreds of thousands of new units each year in rural, urban, and suburban communities, creating new housing options for people who have been there for generations as well as those who have newly arrived in the US. The Green SHDA will deliver a wide range of healthy, climate-resilient, fossil fuel–free housing options to meet the unique needs of different geographies. And it will make it easier and more affordable to make homes across the country greener.

 

The Green SHDA will create millions of new units of green social housing by empowering the government to purchase distressed real estate and properties where tenants are vulnerable to exploitation, rehabilitate them to be healthy and environmentally resilient places to live, and transfer them to the social housing sector. A Green SHDA will address the climate crisis by creating beautiful, permanently and deeply affordable, carbon-free, environmentally safe, community-controlled housing people need.

How the Green SHDA Works

The Green SHDA would have the authority to construct new, climate-resilient housing options on vacant land to increase the supply of permanently affordable housing. It will create diverse options for both renting and collective ownership through models like limited equity cooperatives, resident-managed properties, and community land trusts. These housing options put residents in control of their own living conditions rather than at the whims of landlords or banks. Through decarbonization efforts and healthy home investments, the Green SHDA will also decrease exposure to environmental toxins in communities that have been neglected and improve the health of millions. ​ The Green SHDA is a model built to scale, giving it the potential to transform the U.S. housing sector and keep people safe in our changing climate.

Green SHDA by the numbers
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FURTHER READING

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