Bringing the Right People Together: Housing Policy and the COVID-19 Crisis

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“You have to bring everyone to the table if you want to think progressively and with any kind of ingenuity. Take something like Renter’s Choice, there’s probably going to be some initial pushback from landlords because it’s unknown. They’re accustomed to doing things the way they’ve always done them. That doesn’t mean they’re not willing to change, it means you have to bring people to the table to show them how it works so there’s a level of trust. I think the model that we’ve seen out of Cincinnati introduced by Councilman PG Sittenfeld is that you can build collaboration up and down the chain to pass a piece of successful legislation.” -Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein

COVID-19 and social distancing have changed the way we have conversations, but we refuse to let this crisis keep us from connecting with the people and groups who help us make sure we’re doing our best work. Our team at Rhino believes in collaborating with policymakers at the City Council, Mayoral, and State Legislative levels to deliver solutions that work for renters and property owners. Opening constructive dialogue between elected officials who serve different parts of our country advances that mission.

On Friday, April 17th we hosted our first virtual roundtable, convening elected officials from cities and states across the country for a discussion about housing policies and constituent support initiatives to combat the challenges associated with COVID-19. We were proud to partner in convening this group with The NewDEAL, a national network of pro-growth, rising star leaders.

This is not a 2008–2009 housing crisis where money was tight. This is a forced economic shutdown for a public health response, and money is available.

A national audience filled the (virtual) room to listen and learn about the feedback that these leaders have received from their constituents in response to the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the economic uncertainty that preceded, and will long succeed it. In a conversation full of firsthand insights and ideas for solutions, here are some that stood out:

The numbers we’re seeing call for immediate action…

We must create short-term and long-term solutions simultaneously…

There are many issues that preceded this crisis and many that will outlive it…

COVID-19 is revealing the cracks in the system…

The tools to build a more affordable future already exist…

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Our mission is to give renters financial alternatives to afford the homes they want.

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