2017 Symposium Industry Report: Pay for Success

• P roject alignment: how much sense does this project make? • P roject evaluability: how clear is the evaluation plan?

Though this tool is not a comprehensive and definitive evaluation of PFS projects, it provides communities and interested stakeholders with a valuable guideline to understanding how PFS fits into their communities. [See Appendix C for a user-friendly PAT provided by the University of Virginia Pay for Success Lab, based on the Urban Institute PAT. A Pay for Success Action Plan for America Promoting access to safe and affordable housing for every American has never been a more pressing issue. As wages stagnate and costs of living soar, more and more Americans across all age groups are finding it increasingly difficult to afford housing costs and have leftover income for nutrition, healthcare, and other necessities. The affordable housing crisis in the United States and across the world, especially in rapidly developing and expanding urban centers, poses a serious and overlooked barrier to equality and opportunity. The spatial bound- ary an individual lives in determines the opportunities and choices available in a lifetime. The 21st century global capitalist economic system not only accepts, but actively embraces housing disparities as a natural function of the free mar- ket. Decades of neglect and willful ignorance as the housing market became increasingly inaccessible to more and more individuals and families has nur- tured an endemic human rights crisis that threatens to undermine centuries of progress to a free and just society. Affordable housing now threatens the working and lower middle class, hastening the steady erosion of the middle class and the decline of social mobility in the United States. This is discounting the American poor who have been pushed further and further behind under the burden of generations of housing unaffordability. The leaders of tomorrow cannot view the affordable housing crisis as a market failure or the accumulated result of individual incompetence. They cannot view it as anything less than what it is—a fundamental human rights violation. There is also a growing consensus that the current system of charitable giving is broken. Money is often inefficiently used, providing aid that is unsus- tainable and largely addresses the superficial negative effects of systemic social issues, instead of tackling inequality at its root. Luckily, the 21st century has given rise to impact investors and third sector approaches to social issues, which champion public-private partnerships and market-oriented solutions that are self-sustaining and use philanthropic and investor capital more efficiently. Pay for Success contracts are one such movement. Local governments must step up the fight against housing burdens in their communities. Federal programs like LIHTC have been incomparably

46 Pay for Success & Affordable Housing | Stefano Rumi

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