Data Source: HUD
The Path Forward
💸 Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit — The EITC is a fantastic tool for problems like this. First, the EITC is paid out as a lump sum of cash and isn’t tied to a specific challenge like housing vouchers or SNAP benefits. As such, this solution can help people struggling with housing or childcare or food. Second, the EITC supports families and provides additional funds for children. Larger families will have to pay more in rent, buy more food, and spend more on childcare, and thus the EITC is specifically designed to help families in need.
🏡 Reform Single Family Zoning — Rent is the largest percentage of a person’s budget and is thus the biggest contributor to the relative cost of living and inequality. However, local zoning regulations prohibit building anything other than single-family detached houses on three-quarters of land in major U.S. cities. Minneapolis, Minnesota has been a pioneer in this space with its Minneapolis 2040 Plan. Passed in 2019, the policy removes requirements on single family housing across the city and is expected to triple housing availability for low-income families in a move that The New York Times called “simple and brilliant.”