Affordable housing seems to be on everyone’s minds these days.
According to a 2017 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the necessary annual household income is “at least $44,120 to afford a two-bedroom rental home at HUD’s average Fair Market Rent (FMR) of $1,103 per month.” With a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in many states, these workers would need to earn double that wage in order to afford a modest apartment rental. With those numbers, how can low-income families even hope to begin saving for a home of their own?
As a real estate broker in a highly unaffordable city myself, New York, I have been particularly drawn to new and creative ways to develop urban dwelling units that provide safe, affordable homes for everyone. As we continue to battle a housing affordability crisis in this county, I believe in the importance of creating new and innovative solutions to these problems, as well as being knowledgeable about how we can all do our part to help.
To that end, I am dedicating the next several blogs to this topic, and will be calling it the Creative Housing Series. The purpose of these articles will be to promote conversation around affordable housing alternatives that are solutions-based, creative, and even fun.
To learn more about affordable housing and to become involved, I highly recommend following these leaders in the field. Most post regularly to various social media platforms, and you can usually find a link to the platform of your choice on their site.
Viewing regular posts, updates and information on a consistent basis helps to push this important topic, often forgotten amongst the chaos of other news, to the forefront.
Organizations to Follow:
National Low Income Housing Coalition
Facebook Handle: @NationalLowIncomeHousingCoalition
The NLIHC is uniquely dedicated to the goal of “achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes”. They do incredible work in the community to spread awareness and support the most vulnerable population.
Pathways Housing First
Facebook Handle: @pathwaysnational
Pathways National provides training and consulting to organizations that adopt the Housing First model for ending homelessness. Their website regularly posts informative articles on the topic.
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
Facebook Handle: @homelessnesslaw
The Law Center is the only existing national legal group focused solely on ending and preventing homelessness. Their mission is to “expand access to affordable housing, meet the immediate and long-term needs of those who are homeless or at risk, and strengthen the social safety-net.”
Facebook Handle: @Shelterforce
Shelterforce is an independent, nonprofit publication which focuses on the specific areas of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization. You can opt to receive their printed magazine (a paid subscription), or sign up for new and information via email.
The Source for Housing Solutions
Facebook Handle: @cshorg
The Source of Housing Solutions focuses their efforts on four “lines of business”: providing training and education about affordable housing solutions, lending to support housing solutions, providing consulting services and engaging in policy reform.
Books to Read:
by Matthew Desmond
This often heartbreaking book tells the true stories of eight low-income families in Milwaukee. Powerfully compelling and purposefully told, their stories help to shed light on the experience of those living through urban poverty, homelessness and constant eviction, while also managing to put fourth a good number of solutions to these problems. A very worthy read.
Housing First: Ending Homelessness
by Deborah Padgett, Benjamin Henwood, and Sam Tsemberis
This book tells the story of Housing First, a “paradigm-shifting evidence-based approach to ending homelessness”. Housing First started in New York City during the early nineties and their methods soon spread to other cities, both nationally and internationally.
Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing
by Josh Ryan Collins, Toby Lloyd, and Laurie Macfarlane
In this “accessible but provocative” guide to the economics of land and housing, the authors discuss the main challenges we face today in modern economies, such as the urban housing crises, poverty, and class and racial inequalities, and how they are closely tied to the land economy. This book is an important reference for understanding the economic complexities behind housing policy and economic theory, and how they are bound together.