Collaboration among federal, state, local, and other stakeholders is essential if real progress is to be made in healing racial divisions in our country. The federal government invests billions in programs aimed at improving equality and diminishing substantial barriers to progress by racial and ethnic minorities. There is scant evidence, however, about which programs are most effective at achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Creating a temporary commission consisting of officials from relevant agencies can fill this gap. It can begin the process of building a body of evidence about what works and reinvesting in more effective practices. The commission would be responsible for inventorying programs designed to improve diversity, equity, or inclusion; assessing the body of evidence about them; and clarifying common goals. The Inclusion, Diversity & Equity in American Life (IDEAL) Commission would make an important contribution to finding more effective remedies to some of our country’s most lasting, difficult wounds. In fact, it would reinforce the Biden-Harris Administration’s recent executive order, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” which stated unequivocally that “[a]ffirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our Government.” A close working relationship between the commission proposed here and the Equitable Data Working Group established by the executive order would be essential.
A supply-side tax credit (STC) could offer a tax incentive to material suppliers and professional service consultants that provide goods or services to affordable housing projects.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Commerce, and Department of Transportation should jointly develop and manage a data resource—a Housing Production Dashboard—to track housing production within and across states.
Exempting affordable housing from volume caps would address the underlying issue and have the greatest impact in this housing emergency.
The U.S. should establish a national housing loss rate to stand alongside the national unemployment rate as a key indicator of social and economic well-being.