EXCERPT: “Walk through the downtown of any major U.S. city today and it may seem counterintuitive, in the midst of today’s building boom, that we have a housing shortage. In fact, we’re in the middle of an affordability crisis. According to the Urban Institute, for every 100 extremely low-income households in need of an affordable apartment, only 29 units are available, and researchers at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found that 38.9 million households are cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing. ‘The simple fact is, in booming economies, it’s faster to hire a software developer than build a new apartment building,’ says Kristin Siglin, senior vice president of policy at the Housing Partnership Network. The U.S. isn’t just short a few units, we’re falling woefully behind. A report by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) suggest we need 4.6 million new units by 2030, and mayors across the country have made affordability a cornerstone of their campaigns. Experts and officials will, correctly, explain that the issue often comes down to cost: Affordable housing development often doesn’t add up, and without enough government subsidies and policy support, this important need goes unmet. ‘We do know what solutions and policies work,’ says Giselle Routhier, policy director of the Coalition for the Homeless. ‘We just need the political will to make it happen.’ But when city leadership, government leaders, and nonprofits get creative and get serious about solving the issues, solutions can take shape. Curbed spoke with experts from numerous housing organizations—Urban Institute, Housing Partnership Network, National Housing Conference, Coalition for the Homeless, and Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies—as well as authors and scholars such as Joel Kotkin, to identify some of the innovative solutions that cities, states, and nonprofits have turned to to help solve the affordability shortage, including inclusionary zoning, removing parking minimums, changing building codes to make it easier to rehab older buildings, and new funding models. Some are small-scale, and none offers an all-in-one solution to this enormous problem (‘There is no silver bullet,’ says Siglin). But in a time of tight budgets and expanding need, they showcase creative ways to solve one of today’s trickiest urban issues.” FULLSTORY: