Authors: Judith Yates
Fannie Mae Foundation
A significant change in the finance of social housing in the 1980s was a movement to transfer responsibility for funding to the private sector. This article argues that governments must continue to be involved in social housing finance as this movement progresses. Financing initiatives undertaken in Australia are used to signal the risks associated with the provision of social housing finance, to illustrate the mechanisms employed to manage these risks, and to highlight the conflicts that arise when a mix of public and private funding is attempted. The article proposes the introduction of equity bonds as an innovative way to raise funds for social housing and to overcome inefficiencies arising from the present complex and costly administrative structures. However, a commitment to ongoing subsidies to close the full rental gap is necessary for equity bonds to serve those most in need.
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