Three Principles for Federal Housing Policy

12 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2011

Date Written: November 1, 2011


Isolating first principles of housing policy helps identify what is intrinsic to that field. Once done, we can clearly analyze potential policy choices for housing specifically, as opposed to how they may contribute to some larger goal of social policy. Imposing some analytic structure here is of key importance because federal housing policy is a morass of programs and policies. This exercise should help to ensure that monies spent to increase the supply and quality of housing are used efficiently.

I argue that the three first principles that inform federal housing policy are (i) allowing all Americans to live in safe, well-maintained and affordable housing units; (ii) providing a specialized form of income redistribution that ensures that the income transferred is consumed in increased housing; and (iii) incentivizing Americans to take on the key attributes of Jefferson’s yeoman farmer: economic and social self-sufficiency as well as a jealous regard for one’s liberty.

Keywords: housing, housing policy, federal housing policy, affordable housing, homeownership, rental housing

Suggested Citation

Reiss, David J., Three Principles for Federal Housing Policy (November 1, 2011). Probate & Property, 2012; Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 257. Available at SSRN:

David J. Reiss (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

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