Proven Policy Solutions for Today’s World
Rhino Publishes ‘Common Ground,’ A Research Report of Housing Policies With Immediate Impact
America is facing an unprecedented housing crisis. Millions of our neighbors are confronting rising rent costs, a shortage of affordable housing, and potential eviction. We cannot wait any longer to find solutions to this problem — we must act now. In order to inspire action to combat challenges of housing affordability and accessibility, Rhino spent several months researching and writing Common Ground: Addressing America’s Housing Challenges, a policy paper that recommends creative, effective policies and common-sense solutions that have been successfully implemented across the country.
At Rhino, we build products that give Americans greater financial flexibility, ensure property owners stay protected, and remove barriers to obtaining quality housing. By allowing renters to replace their security deposit with low-cost insurance, Rhino is helping to unlock more than $45 billion of cash sitting in escrow accounts, releasing those funds back into the economy and allowing everyday Americans to pay off debt, save for emergencies, or invest in their retirement. As Rhino has grown to be offered in over 1 million homes, we’ve created large-scale impact across the country. With that being said, we cannot solve these problems alone, and there is far more work to do.
Historically, solutions to our housing crisis have been limited in scope and designed to address the challenges of renters, property owners, or developers individually. This dynamic has locked renters out of housing opportunities and hurt property owners’ ability to protect their profitability. In Common Ground, we outline clear, proven solutions for today’s housing affordability problems, exploring the housing crisis from the perspectives of renters, property owners, and developers alike.
In developing this paper, our thought was that listening to leaders from all sides would result in win-win solutions that ensure affordability for renters while contributing to the prosperity of local economies. We conducted a series of interviews with housing policy experts, advocates, and industry leaders — working on the national and local level in policy, government, and advocacy across the country. All of the recommended policies were spoken about during these conversations. Many of the recommendations have immediate, tangible benefits for renters and owners alike, and could be impactfully implemented in a matter of weeks, rather than years. Below is an overview of the policies explored in Common Ground:
Zero-interest loans for developers who rehabilitate uninhabitable properties in exchange for caps on rent once the rehabilitated property is completed
Consistent and straightforward zoning standards based on population density
“Renter’s Choice” legislation, which allows renters to use alternatives to burdensome cash security deposits, such as low-cost insurance programs like Rhino’s; This legislation works as a renter stimulus, injecting billions back into local economies and supporting the health of the housing market as a whole.
Damage mitigation funds that cover damages beyond a security deposit for lower-income renters, allowing property owners to take on “high-risk” renters with increased protection and peace of mind;
Tax credits that cover housing costs in excess of 30% of household income;
Local and state incentives for property owners to keep their renters in stable housing, rather than going through eviction proceedings;
Pragmatic eviction diversion strategies, mitigating the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and allowing more renters to access housing now and moving forward.
At Rhino we don’t believe we have all the answers, nor do we believe that the solutions listed in Common Ground are the only answers to America’s housing crisis, but they are a start. Time to get going.