Housing

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly exacerbated America’s national housing crisis, which has been defined by rising rates of homelessness, a surge in evictions, and a large increase in housing insecurity among Black and Hispanic households. These trends were compounded by the Trump administration’s rollback of public housing policies and outright disdain for the enforcement of fair housing laws. The current crisis has also coincided with a decades-long neglect of the preservation and expansion of the nation’s affordable public housing supply by policymakers and a surge in real estate acquisitions by corporate landlords and private equity investors like Blackstone Group and NexPoint Residential Trust, resulting in skyrocketing home prices and rents across the country. Together, these trends have made the current housing crisis unlike anything America has seen since the Great Depression. 

The Revolving Door Project has taken a multifaceted approach to explain how the executive branch can respond to the national housing crisis. For one, we have documented the importance of personnel appointments and vacancies in housing policy at executive branch departments and independent agencies. We highlighted the hiring of Charles Yi, a Wall Street-friendly former BigLaw partner with a troubling record of advancing the interests of entrenched corporate power, at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). We have also cataloged the mounting personnel vacancies at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that are undermining progress in key housing policy areas. 

RDP has also sought to document the ties between the real estate industry and the Biden administration. To that end, we have tracked political contributions from prominent real estate industry moguls to the Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg campaigns in our Presidential Power Map

Above all, the project has sought to demonstrate the nature of housing policy as a whole-of-government issue necessitating an all-of-government response, rather than a niche issue confined to one or two agencies. We have documented the various housing policies and powers held by various executive branch agencies and departments, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of the Interior, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

The Revolving Door Project has been collaborating with affordable housing and tenant rights advocates to center tenants and struggling homeowners in national housing policy discussion. Tenant leaders are helping guide our work both in front of and behind the scenes. We urge executive branch officials to make full use of their existing housing powers to serve the public interest, rather than corporate real estate investors, and call them out when they fail to do so. We support tenants across the country in their call for the Federal Housing Finance Agency to regulate rents for all federally-backed properties. We will continue to keep watchful eyes on executive branch housing policy nominees and appointees, and will rigorously document executive branch and presidential housing policy powers that do not require legislative action to invoke. 

Below you will find some of the project’s writing and research on housing policy. This page will be continually updated with new articles and blog posts.

May 24, 2024

Ethan Alcock Andrea Beaty

Blog Post Housing

 Real Estate Industry Attacks LIHTC Rent Cap Win

On April 1, the Biden administration announced that it would move to cap rent hikes in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties to 10%. The new regulations from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are a historic step that will protect millions of tenants in LIHTC properties across the country from egregious rent hikes. Unsurprisingly, the real estate industry is none too pleased about this major new pro-tenant policy.    

November 29, 2023

Emma Marsano

Newsletter ClimateCorporate CrackdownHousingLarry SummersTech

Biden Administration Remains Split Over Fighting Concentrated Corporate Power

This week’s newsletter looks at executive branch attempts to counteract concentrated corporate power across our focus areas – from consumer protection in Big Tech, to housing, to climate regulation. While the FTC and DOJ antitrust division continue to be present in important fights to support consumers and tenants, proactive climate policy continues to be absent, as Biden’s rhetoric regarding challenging climate change rings hollow in areas where the president has considerable discretion.