Having a place one can call home is essential. It’s part of the human experience and is considered one of the basic needs of individuals. A home provides a sense of shelter – a place where people feel free to be themselves indeed.
It is for this reason, and many others, why access to affordable housing is so critical. Now, more than ever, this is a discussion that needs to be had. The prices of houses are ever-increasing, while the medium wages are staying the same.
What Is Affordable Housing?
For most, housing is considered affordable when it costs 30 percent (or less) of one’s income. Unfortunately, finding a housing opportunity that only uses 30% of their income is a dream for many out there.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition drives that point home in their analysis of the U.S. housing market. According to their reports, there is nowhere in the country where a family making minimum wage can receive affordable housing. The average housing situation takes up more than 30% of income when living on minimum wage.
Renting Versus Owning
According to Homes For All, one in four renting households spends more than half of their income on rent alone. While another 610,000 people in America don’t even have a home. Those are horrifying statistics, especially when looked at in more detail.
When renters are spending so much of their income on rent, they have few options for savings. There will be no pennies put aside for a down payment on a house, and most of it will be spent on other essentials for living.
It has been well documented that access to affordable housing (both decent and stable) provides a buffer for those most at risk and homelessness. Children will be safer, and overall, families and communities can find a stronger sense of stability.
The Benefits of Affordable Housing
Many of the benefits of affordable housing are evident, even just from a quick outside look. Families have access to safe and comfortable accommodation, providing stability and more. Additionally, affordable housing protects all generations. That includes the elderly, or the Graying Generation, as they are commonly known in the housing market. A guarantee of affordable housing protects those that are on a fixed income.
Naturally, affordable housing also helps the young, as well as all ages in between. It provides many health benefits that may not be obvious at first glance. Limiting the amount spent on housing frees up resources for better food, healthcare (including mental health), experiences, and more.
Best of all, affordable housing helps to create better, stronger, and happier communities. Uplifting low-income residents helps to lift a community as a whole, no matter what opponents would say about development.