The cost of creating affordable housing continues to be a hot topic across the state. Caught between an urgent need to bring tens-of-thousands more permanently affordable units online and a relative trickle of public resources to make affordability possible, developers find themselves in the crosshairs of critics who, understandably, insist that we stretch every public dollar as far as possible.
This month, Meyer will convene more than 150 leaders and experts in real estate development, finance, construction, design and policy to explore genuine opportunities to deliver more housing for less.
The Cost Efficiency Summit will build on Meyer’s past engagement with these issues. In 2014 we convened a group of experts on real estate development, construction, design and finance, and issued a report summarizing more than a year of detailed explorations of the factors driving the cost of affordable housing development and possible ways to bring those costs down.
The report illustrates that many cost-related challenges are out of our hands. The price of land, the shortage of skilled labor, and the complexity of publicly funded projects set some parameters no one can ignore or work around. At the same time, there are some decisions that could be made differently, so long as we don’t lose sight of other important goals such as long-term durability, lifecycle costs and help for tenants with low incomes or special needs.
The discussion is not a simple one, but we hope to help create a larger shared framework to evaluate these tradeoffs. The summit is built around a series of wide-ranging but grounded conversations, focused on specific problem-solving strategies for getting the most out of our collective investment in affordable housing. We also look forward to sharing the progress so far (and lessons learned) from five pilot projects that Meyer has supported to test new approaches to lowering costs.
We will also share what we learn from this Cost Efficiency Summit later this year. The afternoon plenary session on Friday, January 19 event will be streamed live via Facebook (feel free to follow us, too!) and will be available afterward for viewing there.