No matter which way you look at it, the demand for affordable housing in the US has risen astronomically over the last decade. Studies have shown that at least every 2 out of 5 households are struggling to keep up with rent. Many are contributing half of their income to monthly rent. The problem is that rising costs to rent a home are preventing many low-income families from securing a safe place to live and raise their families.
The number of families who are low income or poverty stricken continues to rise in the US. Low income is considered earnings of between 30% to 50% of the median income for the area.
Federal government has taken steps towards allocating cheap apartments to low-income families which includes public housing and section 8. Private developers have also come on board in partnership with government or as independent housing entities to provide reduced rent to qualifying households. Even celebrities such as Kanye West have invested in developing social housing projects.
As the needs of the people continue to grow and the demand starts to outweigh the housing supply, millions more homes need to be developed to address the pressing financial needs of affected households.
We take a closer look behind the scenes of affordable housing to understand its importance and the reasons it should become a part of the normal housing standard.
What has Changed About Affordable Housing in the US?
Because the demand for cheap apartments has increased among single renters and households with children, affordable housing is no longer considered a part of crime-ridden, poorly maintained, and unsafe communities. Today’s affordable homes are filled by hard working and paying tenants who desire a safe community to live in and to raise their children.
Affordable housing is also not exclusive to families with disabilities, veterans, and single-parent households. It is available for all individuals and households who meet the designated qualifying criteria.
What are the Different Affordable Housing Programs?
A popular affordable housing program is subsidized housing or section 8. Families or applicants who qualify as low income are provided a housing subsidy by government. The subsidy or “housing voucher” is used by the applicant to pay for the balance on rent or to cover the full amount of rent.
There is also affordable housing offered by private developers and landlords. Applicants will provide proof of qualifying income and any other requested documentation. Not all affordable housing projects offer a subsidy or housing voucher. Instead, tenants must cover the monthly rent for the lease period.
What Still Needs to Be Done to Improve Affordable Housing?
In 2018, only a third of low income families qualified for available homes while others were placed on waiting lists. In 2021, many families are still on waiting lists in anticipation of subsidized or cheap apartments. This means more investments and developments into the affordable housing market to meet the demand and address America’s housing crisis.
Along with ongoing property development and government inviting the private sector on board, affordable housing must be maintained. Implementing high quality living standards for every resident maintains a secure environment, protects tenant rights, and supports the value that affordable homes can bring to any neighborhood.
Why Affordable Housing Should Become a Part of the New Norm
As the general cost of living goes up yet income remains unchanged and homelessness increase, affordable housing could be one solution to address the critical housing needs of so many Americans.
Housing assistance is also transforming the debt crisis in the US. Specialized housing subsidies are being used to settle loans on mattresses, kitchenware, and other pressing household items.
Although affordable housing and social development have a way to go, its impact is already shining through. When households can afford their monthly rent, both children and adults can focus on pursuing their education, their careers, and their dreams.