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This article emphasizes that any solution to the phenomenon of homelessness must include a substantial component of permanent affordable housing and argues that nonprofit organizations can play a crucial role in resolving this housing crisis. The article surveys the variety of forms that community based housing has taken to provide housing for the most neglected groups. Typical problems nonprofit housing organizations have faced in obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status are discussed. The tax treatment of nonprofit organizations is a significant factor in such organizations’ overall ability to maintain housing units at affordable prices. Also, reviewed is the landlord-tenant relationship when the landlord is a nonprofit organization, addressing issues of rent collection and the extent to which additional services should be provided for tenants. Sources of permanent housing for low income people, such as home ownership, cooperatives, and rental housing, are compared. The article ends by recommending a housing program that is limited in size per nonprofit sponsor, but comprehensive in the scope of housing services offered.

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