Barry Zigas

Barry Zigas

Building a Housing Landscape

Ep. 25 - Barry Zigas details why the proper supply of affordable housing often falls short, with funding regularly lacking to get “the train running at maximum efficiency.” He explains why building a housing landscape is so critical today.

Top Takeaways:

  • The insufficiency of tax credits and what low-income earners need
  • The main factors that hinder HUD from accomplishing its role to the fullest
  • Why affordable housing is still an issue

Listen in to learn why there is a need for more resources at HUD for it to adequately perform its role.

“Keep in mind that this work is about providing value to low and moderate-income consumers, not to provide value to housing producers - they are the means, not the end.”

Barry is a senior fellow at Consumer Federation of America where he also served as director of housing policy. In addition, he consults with housing and community development nonprofits and foundations on strategy, innovation and leadership through his firm Zigas and Associates LLC. Barry shares his career journey from a journalist to a policymaker in the housing sector.  He was the senior vice president of Fannie Mae, where he led the organization's  single-family community lending initiatives, as well as corporate and regulatory reporting on the company’s housing goals, investments in CDFIs, and support for homeownership counseling and education. Barry has been a substantive voice for public housing, with leadership roles at many key agencies. Barry served as President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition where he led the efforts to create the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the HOME program and expanded responsibilities for community lending at Fannie and Freddie. He was Associate Executive Director and held other staff positions at the US Conference of Mayors.

While he credits private investment capital that has lifted the burden from public agencies and moved projects forward, funding needs to be more directed at increasing the supply, given that only one fourth of those eligible for Section 8 housing assistance receive it.

Zigas has served on the boards of Mercy Housing, Inc., Low Income Investment Fund and National Housing Trust.

Listen to learn why, after starting his career as a journalist, he decided he wanted to do more than just report on policy — he wanted to help craft it.

Key Moments:

He shares his career journey from a journalist in the housing sector to a policymaker and the accomplishments he made [2:37]

Why the tax credits are not enough for affordable housing and what the alternative to new construction is for low-income housing [13:00]

Why there is a need for a balanced federal housing policy that still does not exist [15:41]

The role of HUD and how it is constrained by lack of resources and a stream of experienced people [18:44]

He explains the allocation of scarcity in housing programs which hinders affordability in the sector [23:00]

He mentions some of his achievements and accomplishments including  Fannie Mae and the low-income tax credit program as his legacies [27:45]

What advice does he have for young people who want to work in government and the affordable housing sector [28:46]

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