Beyond The Pandemic

The SHDA – A Proposal

apartment building

(White Paper)

The Case for a Social Housing Development Authority

November 2020

To avoid massive evictions spurred by the coronavirus and to provide long-term community stability, researchers at the UDL are calling for the creation of a new federal housing authority. Outlined in a newly released white paper, the agency would purchase distressed real estate and transfer it to cooperatives, non-profits, and community land trusts. The white paper, “The Case for a Social Housing Development Authority,” based on months of research and dialogue with housing advocates, as part of our Beyond The Pandemic effort, describes the new institution in some detail.

The goal of the Social Housing Development Authority (SHDA) is to create lasting solutions for the housing crisis by purchasing distressed real estate, particularly multi-family rentals, and financing its transfer to the social housing sector (such as cooperatives, non-profits, community land trusts, and public housing). In addition to preventing the further consolidation of the housing market by private equity and other speculative investors, this federal program would avoid the upcoming crisis of evictions as moratoria expire and give distressed landlords a graceful exit. Most fundamentally, however, this policy contributes to the stability and empowerment of those communities most historically affected by predatory policies like redlining and disinvestment by creating permanently affordable, community-controlled housing. By investing in a robust social sector that is, in principle, lasting and immune to speculation, this policy helps communities avoid displacement and the destructive pressures of gentrification. And by investing in maintenance, upgrading, and retrofitting before turning units over to communities, it contributes to the stock of quality, environmentally sound housing. This policy will benefit vulnerable tenants in urban and rural areas of the country.

Read the full text of the white paper.