According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), current trends and statistics indicate there is an increased need for affordable housing. Women In Government is committed to informing and sharing policies that ensure Americans have access to affordable housing in the hopes of promoting economic security and asset building. Currently:
• An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual income on housing.
• A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
An affordable housing project can be created at the federal or state level. In addition to creating an affordable housing program, states can implement laws and regulations designed to secure the availability of affordable housing in their districts and promote economic growth. Creating or securing pre-existing affordable housing is important for solving several problems that may currently exist in the community.
What can policymakers do?
Drawing on federal programs that have been designed to help states craft affordable housing programs, legislators can help meet the housing demands of their constituents. The HUD HOME Program helps to expand the supply of decent, affordable housing for low- and very low-income families by providing grants to state and local governments called participating jurisdictions (PJs).
Another option is to establish a program that allows communities to reclaim vacant and blighted properties, increase homeownership, and promote economic revitalization by creating entire neighborhoods of new, single-family homes. A great example of this is the Homeownership Zones Communities program by the federal government.
Policy makers can also partner with non-profit sector to create collaborative programs designed to ensure affordable housing in the community. Working in conjunction with local housing groups can increase awareness and knowledge about effective solutions for constituents who are striving to secure housing. Below is a list of resources that may pinpoint effective non-profits to collaborate with when creating affordable housing solutions.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies: This group addresses intellectual and policy issues confronting nations experiencing widespread demographic, economic and social changes, with dramatic and far-reaching effects on cities in particular. For more click here.
National Housing Conference: For more than 75 years, the nonprofit National Housing Conference (NHC) has been the united voice for housing. A membership drawn from every industry segment forms the foundation for NHC’s broad, nonpartisan advocacy for national policies and legislation that promote suitable housing in a safe, decent environment. For more click here.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities. For more click here.
View the Affordable Housing Fact Sheet HERE.