3335 W St Germain St.
Suite 108
St. Cloud, MN 56301

(320) 656-8890

How can we fix the affordable housing crisis?

Apr 25, 2024

Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped almost 60 million people improve their living conditions across 70 countries. However, the housing crisis the world is currently facing cannot be solved by a single organization alone, however large their reach may be. 

Right now, the United States is experiencing a severe housing crisis. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), there is an affordable housing shortage of more than 7 million units for extremely low-income households.  

 

What is preventing people from purchasing or renting homes they can afford? 

According to The Gap, the NLIHC’s annual report on the state of affordable housing for various income groups, a person working a minimum wage job ($7.25/hour) would have to work 104 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom rental home or 86 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom.  

This is not a feasible amount for anyone to work, especially when you take into account the make-up of extremely low-income households: 

Source: The Gap, National Low Income Housing Coalition 

The truth is, the main cause of the affordable housing crisis is a lack of supply. There is a large demand for affordable housing units, but, as the National Low Income Housing Coalition found, the supply is severely lacking, especially for extremely low-income households. 

Luis Quintero, a professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, said that after the 2008 recession, although the housing market began to recover, there weren’t enough houses being built. 

 

We’ve talked a lot about the problem, but what about the solution? How can we fix the affordable housing crisis? 

An article published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests that the solution will require extensive government intervention in the form of “a comprehensive housing strategy.” This will involve building new units, preserving existing ones, and expanding different types of rental assistance programs. As of 2020, only about 25% of eligible households actually receive rental assistance, according to the Human Rights Watch. 

We at Habitat work to provide affordable units to low-income families, slowly lessening the gap between supply and demand. Habitat for Humanity, however, cannot do it alone. Just building affordable housing isn’t enough if the policies implemented by the government aren’t able to keep these homes affordable for generations to come. 

 

Sources:  

The Gap, National Low Income Housing Coalition. https://nlihc.org/gap 

“Addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis Requires Expanding Rental Assistance and Adding Housing Units,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/addressing-the-affordable-housing-crisis-requires-expanding-rental-assistance-and 

“Living With a Crisis of Affordable Housing,” The Hub at Johns Hopkins University. https://hub.jhu.edu/2023/08/29/affordable-housing-crisis/ 

“Housing Unaffordable for Half of US Renters,” Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/14/housing-unaffordable-half-us-renters?gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwlZixBhCoARIsAIC745DfargAU0I1_Dy4RhmmqJV7Be30Hqt5bzaOcoLwvkrbjg4t_UqyIBEaAgOpEALw_wcB 

 

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(320) 656-8890

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