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Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research strives to share HUDfunded and other research on housing and urban policy issues with scholars, government officials, and others involved in setting policy and determining the direction of future research.

Cityscape focuses on innovative ideas, policies, and programs that show promise in revitalizing cities and regions, renewing their infrastructure, and creating economic opportunities. A typical issue consists of articles that examine various aspects of a theme of particular interest to our audience. The Notes section highlights HUD research-in-progress on current policy and program issues.

U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development
Office of Policy Development
and Research

Cityscape

A Journal of Policy
Development and Research

Volume 4, Number 1
1998

XLI
02/03 2-013-01

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Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Portions of the journal may be reprinted if proper credit is given.

Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of HUD or the U.S. Government.

Inquiries may be addressed to the Managing Editor at: Office of Policy Development and Research, Room 8126, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20410; tel. (202) 708-0544.

From the Secretary

Across the Nation today, a record 68 million families own their homes—that is about 66 percent or almost two-thirds of all American families. While we are delighted that the Clinton Administration's economic policies have helped produce record homeownership, we must remember that tens of millions of families rent their homes or apartments and that decent and affordable housing for low-income households is the Nation's unfinished business.

In April of this year I sent a report to Congress entitled Rental Housing AssistanceThe Crisis Continues. This report shows that despite record economic growth, the number of very low-income renters in America who are inadequately housed is at an all-time high. The report documents the continuing loss of affordable housing stock at a time when Congress has eliminated funding for new rental assistance and points out that the working poor and suburban residents—not inner-city residents—have experienced the greatest growth of inadequate rental housing.

To meet the needs of millions of Americans who seek rental housing every year, we must focus on the Nation's multifamily housing finance system. As with many institutions at the dawn of the 21st century, this system is undergoing significant changes and the old, established roles of various players within the system are evolving. But it is important for those of us who care about affordable rental housing to pay close attention to multifamily housing finance—to assure that necessary capital is available, at a reasonable cost, to the multifamily rental market.

While an efficient multifamily finance system will provide lifeblood to the affordable housing market, we know that some American households will require housing subsidies. But subsidies by themselves will not stem the loss of affordable housing units from America's dwindling stock.

This issue of Cityscape is intended to challenge and inform all people who hope to make and keep the Nation's multifamily finance system as a dynamic resource that serves us all by helping meet the needs of America's renters. It also is designed to create a better understanding of how this system works—and how it can be improved. To complete our Nation's unfinished business, our goal should be no less than to repeat the success story of American homeownership in America's multifamily rental markets.

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