Documentary Highlights America’s Affordable Housing Crisis

The Brookings Institute presented an early screening of the eight-part documentary series, America Divided, on September 14. Executive producers, Norman Lear and Solly Granatstein, aim to renew the conversation of social and economic inequalities in America. “America Divided” exposes racism in America and its implications for limiting economic opportunity. The documentary series begins on September 30 on the EPIX channel.

The Brookings Institute prescreened the documentary’s segment on the housing affordability crisis in New York City. It illustrated how different groups have tried to address the lack of housing affordability, including activists working to protect tenant rights and politicians trying to increase the affordable housing stock.

During a panel discussion that followed the screening of the documentary, Mr. Lear explained that he is driven to expose how racially divided our society is in order to confront America’s inability to discuss solutions to persistent inequalities.  Mark Calabria of the CATO Institute expressed his concerns about how affordable housing affects property values in high income areas. He suggested fewer regulations and an open development market to fill the need of both high and low income individuals. Mr. Lear and Lisa Rice of the National Fair Housing Alliance disagreed with this perspective, arguing that protecting affordable housing is vital to socio-economic mobility and the failure to provide such housing would result in a national humanitarian crisis.

Although the panelists disagreed on how to achieve greater housing affordability, they found common ground on the need to alleviate the national housing and homelessness crisis.

Watch the panel discussion at:

Learn more about America Divided at: