Jan Breidenbach

Jan Breidenbach is a former union organizer and affordable-housing activist in Los Angeles. She teaches in the School of Policy, Planning & Development at the University of Southern California.

Recent Articles

Rewards in the Rubble

With the right policies, turning foreclosed properties into decent homes could provide high-wage employment.

The implosion of the housing bubble continues to leave communities with unprecedented numbers of foreclosed homes. The question of what to do with them is sparking a range of ideas and proposals for reclaiming these homes as affordable housing. That project could also serve environmental goals and create good jobs. Together, these ideas could help pull the economy out of its mortgage-induced recession by promoting economic opportunity and equality as well as environmental sustainability. But what are we willing to pay for? What will it cost to reclaim foreclosed properties as low-income rental housing? To energy-retrofit the housing? And to make sure that the workers doing the rehabilitation and retrofit are well paid? In a word: subsidy. Without it, new ideas hit the wall of real dollar limits. But clearly, the need for all three goals is evident. *** Affordable Housing. According to Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the policy attention...