5 Creative Strategies for Increasing Affordable Housing

Strong Towns shares five stories that showcase creative strategies for increasing affordable housing.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “affordable housing”? Perhaps a decrepit public housing project funded and (poorly) managed by your city’s housing authority? Or maybe a fancy, new, LEED-certified building that cost your town hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit and will never pay for itself? These two extremes only describe a tiny fraction of the many different models for affordable housing, most of which are not even subsidized by the government.

Here are 5 Strong Towns stories that showcase creative strategies for increasing affordable housing:

1. Think small

Affordable housing will not just come in the form of single family homes, duplexes and apartments. Strong Towns Communications Director Rachel Quednau writes that we can make great strides to increase the availability of affordable housing by encouraging small-scale housing options like accessory dwelling units, tiny homes, and microapartments. Strong Towns member Nolan Gray also reminds us that the original tiny homes—trailers and RVs—are still a viable and important affordable housing option.

2. Localize it

Strong Towns contributor and member Daniel Herriges emphasizes the value of financing affordable housing at the local level instead of relying on federal hand-outs to fund housing development. He writes, “The federal government matters, but ultimately, building Strong Towns means building local economic ecosystems that are in balance and sustainable: where local funds are able to meet local needs in ways that are responsive to local conditions.”

3. Get rid of parking requirements

Nolan Gray wrote about three different ways to expand housing options in his town (Lexington, KY), but one of the most significant is eliminating parking requirements. This enables developers to build more housing instead of parking spaces that sit empty most of the time.