Fourteen million American households now spend more than 50% of their income to cover housing costs or they live in substandard housing conditions. For some households it is both.
In 70% of the nation’s 200 largest metropolitan areas, middle class workers (nurses, teachers, janitors, retail clerks, firemen and police officers) don’t earn enough to qualify to purchase even a modest home.
In Dallas, Texas, one of the nation’s wealthiest areas, only 42% of the households occupy homes that they own.
Over the past ten years, the U. S. lost 2,000,000 affordable rental homes because of soaring markets, the decline of federal housing subsidies, owner divestment and age and deterioration.
Hard fact of life in the USA: For every new affordable unit built, two are razed, abandoned or redeveloped as high cost rentals.
The affordable housing crisis connects to a host of other urban challenges. Housing and community environment are crucial factors for success and vigor when it comes to public education, economic development, public safety, employment, transportation and health/wellness.
Current public policy regarding housing steps away from citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder in favor of homeowners at the upper reaches of the economy. The continuation of such an approach will only deepen and broaden the severity of a range of pressing urban problems confronting inner city neighborhoods.
We need a new vision and many new voices.
[Facts informing this post were found at In Focus—MacArthur Foundation, “Deepening Our Knowledge about How Housing Matters”]