Panel: What Happens When the Rent Comes Due?

  • Speakers:
    Daryl J. Carter, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Avanath Capital Management, LLC
    Leilani Farha, Global Director, The Shift
    Sacajawea Hall, Operations and CLT Director, Cooperation Jackson
    Tara Raghuveer, Homes Guarantee Campaign Director, People‘s Action/ Director, KC Tenants
  • Moderator:
    Ian Volner, Writer, Architecture, Harper‘s, Wall Street Journal

4 Key Takeaways

  • 1. The housing crisis, only accelerated by COVID-19, displays the negative aspects of the conventional tenant-landlord housing model. Tara Raghuveer points towards mortgage and rent cancellation and other forms of relief that include tenant protection to avoid landlords taking matters into their own hands as eviction moratoriums expire. There is also talk of the role of banks in the system, another level that could grant homeowners relief to prevent continued economic downturn.
  • 2. Community land trusts and cooperative housing are tools that communities can use to steward their own resources. The group discussed alternative housing models that could be pursued in a destabilized market under pressure of the rising tide of evictions. Saki Hall explained how community land trusts, renter unions, and collective community organizations shift some of the negotiation power to residents.
  • 3. The housing crisis is not just a supply issue – it’s an affordable supply issue: The housing crisis is an undersupply of particular kinds of housing for certain kinds of people, namely those in the low income and marginalized brackets points of Leilani Farha. Daryll Carter testifies to the barriers in housing development, namely construction costs, regulatory challenges, and the need for further capital to flow and incentives to attract investment in many of the communities that need housing.
  • 4. Land and housing have been commodified. Recognizing housing as a human right at the legislative level is a fundamental step in changing the system. Leilani Farha questions who is driving the housing market in the country? Is it the governments, institutional actors, developers, or the construction industry in control? Residential real estate is so embedded in the financial structures of our countries. The challenge lies in recognizing people-centered models and creating an accountability mechanism for the housing system.
  • 5. There is room for government intervention: Public policy has a role to play when it comes to providing affordable housing. The Government should step in where there is misalignment between the incentives of for-profit development and the demand for affordable housing, says Tara Raghuveer, the goodwill of landlords is not public policy.

Featured photo by Christopher Lin on Unsplash