Did you know that millions of law-abiding American citizens currently face a crisis in being unable to find affordable housing?
It’s not that there isn’t any housing available, it’s just that it’s becoming harder to afford a place in a decent neighborhood where you and your family can feel safe and your kids can grow up in a healthy environment. The federal government defines housing as affordable so long as it does not consume more than 30 percent of the household’s income.
For many people, it is difficult to maintain that allocation, especially if they want to live in a safe and prosperous neighborhood. Luckily measures are being taken, by non-government non-profit organizations as well as private-sector businesses, and there is hope for the future of affordable housing.
Affordable Housing: The Crisis Today
Affordable housing is an issue that has plagued Americans since the Great Depression and the situation only seems to worsen year after year. Statistics from 2022 show that more than 5 million affordable homes are still needed to fix this concerning issue.
Renters are also facing price hikes, with more than 40% of renters havings to pay more than 30% of their household income towards housing.
Today, we’ll be talking about why affordable housing is necessary and what is being currently done to help families. We will also discuss the future of affordable housing and see what can be done to ensure that families everywhere can exercise their right to live in decent neighborhoods and safe environments.
Why Is Affordable Housing Necessary?
Countless studies have shown that a home in a safe and decent environment is fundamental to a family’s overall well-being and help improve the chances of a bright and prosperous future. While these things should be a fundamental right, the stark reality is far from this.
Due to the affordable housing crisis, millions of families are either having to constantly move to a good neighborhood only to be forced to leave due to rising rent prices or having to live in neighborhoods that are unsafe and low on amenities.
This results in a household where parents will experience more stress, possibly suffering from poor mental health, eventually. Children in such situations also tend to fare poorly in school and do not form significant substantial emotional bonds.
What’s Being Done For Affordable Housing In America?
Some government programs are aimed to provide relief to affected citizens, but despite best intentions, these programs aren’t doing much to help.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8 is one example, where vouchers for rent subsidies are provided to low-income families that wish to live in safer neighborhoods with better amenities like schools and parks.
However, the Section 8 program does run into roadblocks from time to time, mainly due to a lack of funding from Congress and other administrative issues. Many eligible tenants are still waiting for relief under this program with no idea how much longer they would need to wait.
Public housing, sometimes known informally as “the projects”, is also an option but such housing tends to be in terrible neighborhoods and existing housing projects are in deep disrepair. Prospects of any new projects being developed are currently low.
There are also some volunteer organizations, for-profit businesses, and corporations that aim to build affordable housing but they too have their challenges. Financing models tend to be long and expensive overall, resulting in very few projects of this nature in the private sector.
Even with all these efforts, it is estimated that almost 75% of people affected by the affordable housing crisis have been unable to avail any benefits from such programs and projects.
What Is The Future Of Affordable Housing?
There most definitely is a future for affordable housing, and many of the issues faced by so many today can be solved if both communities and law-making bodies come together to find a solution.
First and foremost, the stereotypical barriers to homeownership need to be addressed. These include things like excessive down payments, higher interest rates, and closing costs.
Many families, especially those belonging to racial minorities, often find themselves in situations where they don’t qualify for the best interest rates or down payment percentages. The irony is that at times this is because such families do not live in good neighborhoods, regardless of the fact they can afford to pay the mortgage without any problem. Never mind that the very reason the family needs the financing is to move out of the said neighborhood into a better one.
Government can aim to introduce tax and economic policies that would discourage predatory exercises from investors and property owners. Government can also implement measures to penalize exclusionary zoning in affluent neighborhoods while easing processes for permitting.
If measures like these are taken, we can be assured that families in this country have a future and can provide their loved ones with a safe and nurturing environment. If not, then there will be a sharp decline in the availability of affordable housing and we risk falling into a state where homelessness increases rapidly.
The Role Of Habitat For Humanity – Making Affordable Housing A Reality
Dorchester Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with Habitat for Humanity, aiming to build decent and affordable housing for low-income families.
Donations and volunteer labor ensure that housing is always kept at affordable prices, with families having to pay off only the cost of land and materials over a certain period.
There is an application process to avail of the benefits of this program, but Dorchester Habitat for Humanity has already done some amazing work with 74 homes already constructed in Dorchester County alone. This has allowed many families to now have access to safe, sanitary, and affordable housing in quiet and peaceful suburban neighborhoods.
The Habitat for Humanity ReStore program is another initiative where low-income families can purchase home furnishings, donated by generous individuals, at a fraction of the price. Moreover, proceeds from Habitat ReStore also contribute towards the construction of more affordable housing units.
Habitat for Humanity has an extensive network, with 4 more affiliates in the greater Charleston area alone, and a presence in more than 70 countries.
Join Our Mission To Make Affordable Housing Accessible To All!
If you’d like to avail the benefits of programs offered by Habitat for Humanity or wish to volunteer or donate to their cause, be sure to check out their website.
Having a place to call home is a basic humanitarian right and Habitat for Humanity aims to ensure that all Americans get to exercise that right with your continued help and generosity.