Housing trust funds (HTFs) are funds established by cities, counties, or states to provide dedicated, ongoing public revenue to support affordable housing. They provide an important source of financing for affordable housing preservation and development, which may not otherwise be reliably funded in a city’s budget. Decent affordable housing is essential to family well-being and community stability — yet most city neighborhoods remain deeply segregated, and people of color face significant barriers to securing safe, quality, affordable homes because of housing discrimination and systematic disinvestment in communities of color.
The goal of safe and affordable homes for all is a complex challenge that will require a range of different approaches and policy tools. HTFs can play a role in comprehensive equitable housing solutions by focusing on projects that provide for long-term affordability and serve very low-income households, people of color, and other historically disadvantaged communities, including those in danger of displacement. Housing affordability is an issue not only in “hot” markets experiencing strong economic growth or those at risk of gentrification, but also in economically distressed communities struggling with high unemployment rates and low wages. HTFs can be leveraged in a variety of contexts, allowing local jurisdictions to maximize the impact of other housing development funds; create new jobs related to housing development; and generate local economic benefits through increased sales taxes, income taxes, and property taxes.
In addition to the PolicyLink resources listed on the right, see the Housing Trust Fund Project at the Center for Community Change and the Housing Development Consortium for more resources on housing trust funds.