Family Finances

America’s New Housing Crisis: How rising housing costs and instability undermine financial security

Event information
Wed Jan 29, 2020
3:00pm - 5:00pm
The Aspen Institute
2300 N St. NW
Washington, DC
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This event will feature an interview with Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, Missouri, and a panel discussion featuring leaders in housing, healthcare, public education, and business who are tackling housing challenges in their communities, followed by a networking reception.

One in three US households—nearly 100 million people—struggle with housing costs that jeopardize their financial security. The problem is acute for virtually all low-income families and for the 1 in 4 renters who spend 50% or more of their income on housing—and its effects ripple throughout our communities and economy.

In 2019, Aspen EPIC recognized rising housing costs and instability as critical threats to the financial security of American families and created a comprehensive research primer on the topic. Drawing on extensive review of the research literature, engagement with more than 100 experts, and analysis of federal survey data, we have prepared a research primer, “Strong Foundations: Financial security starts with affordable, stable housing.

We identified four critical underlying problems driving rising housing costs and instability:

  1. There isn’t enough new housing to meet growing demand
  2. Many families can’t afford the housing options available to them
  3. Historical and ongoing discrimination harms people of color
  4. The policy environment disadvantages renters

The harmful effects of housing unaffordability and instability affect not just individuals and families, but also public institutions, education and healthcare systems, and private businesses. All sectors of American life would benefit from solving this crisis.



  • Ida Rademacher, Vice President, the Aspen Institute and Executive Director, Financial Security Program, @idarademacher 

The Causes and Consequences of the Housing Affordability Crisis

  • Katherine Lucas McKay, Senior Program Manager, Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, @KLucasMcKay 

A Bold Vision for Renters

  • Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, Missouri, @MayorLucasKC  
  • Stacey Vanek Smith, Co-Host, NPR’s the Indicator from Planet Money, @svaneksmith 

Tackling the Challenges Across Sectors 

  • Richard Baron, Co-Founder and Chairman, McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc.
  • Jeff Gatlin, Chief Operating Officer, Roaring Forks Colorado Public School District
  • Genevieve Melford, Director of Insights and Evidence, Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, @AspenFSP
  • Angela Mingo, Community Relations Director, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, @nationwidekids 

If you have any questions or to request disability accommodations, please contact Emy Urban (

Join the conversation with #AspenEPIC and follow @AspenFSP.

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