Realizing housing justice through comprehensive housing policy reform
International Journal of Urban Sciences, 2021, vol. 25, issue S1, 266-281
A globally connected, locally centred housing justice movement calls for comprehensive reforms of policies that influence the distribution and affordability of housing. To date, this movement has yet to influence U.S. federal housing policy, which has historically prioritized tax expenditures supporting homeownership over affordable rental housing subsidies for low-income households. This paper takes these appeals to housing justice seriously and asks, ‘What would a conception of housing justice offer to housing policy makers seeking to enact comprehensive housing policy reforms designed to shift the balance of federal housing policy priorities away from homeownership towards the satisfaction of low-income households’ basic housing needs?’ I propose a conception of housing justice grounded in the ideal of civic equality, apply civic equality toward the evaluation of current U.S. federal housing policy, and propose a comprehensive national housing policy reform that is consistent with civic equality. The proposed ‘negative housing tax’ extends the idea of a negative income tax to a tax on housing consumption and capital gains from home sales. The revenues generated from the tax provide funds to support a guaranteed monthly housing allowance that would be distributed to those facing the most severe housing needs.
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