Many think it “affordable housing” only for low income families or for people who cannot or will not work. They’re wrong. Research shows working families struggle, too, and a good number of them earn “middle” to “high” salaries.
Apartment List says rental insecurity affects nearly 1 in 5. They surveyed 41,000 people in 2017. Six-percent of those making more than $60,000 a year “difficulty paying all or part of their rent” within the previous month. Those making less than $30,000 a year had the highest percentages at 16%. It’s a 10 point difference and also proof keeping a roof over your head can be difficult, even for some with “high incomes.”
They are what is called “rent burdened.” A household is considered “rent burdened” when the housing costs are more than 30% of the family income. The number of rent burdened households has risen consistently since 2003. In 2016, the Joint Center for Housing Studies reported close to 44 million renter households were housing cost burdened. Nine million of these “rent burdened” families’ income was $75,000 or more.
I’m not writing this to bring attention to the “plight” of middle and upper class families or dismiss the fact some may live beyond their means. That is not what this is about.
I say all this to make a point: no matter your income or current station in life, you deserve housing that is affordable.
The ethos of the American Dream, access to prosperity, and upward mobility has given way to logic: Housing is not universally affordable.
The Pew Charitable Trusts 2018 report concluded “high housing costs threaten financial security and put homeownership out of reach for many” American families. “Housing Affordability” was the main reason 44% non-homeowners in the U.S. did not own a home in Q3 and Q4 of 2018. That’s according to the National Association of Realtors.
Families who did purchase a home in the first quarter of 2018 would likely be “burdened” by their mortgages. Trulia found the “portion of income needed to buy a starter home” was 41.2%. That’s up 4.2% the previous year, “the largest year-over-year rise across all segments on record.” Families would need to spend almost 27% of their income to purchase a trade-up.
That is why Navigate Affordable Housing Partners is focused on community development. Our mission is to bring “Housing Affordability” to a wide range of household incomes. We also want to raise awareness of the obstacles to homeownership. Especially for working people.
Work Walk Live is our initiative to start the necessary conversation about Housing Affordability. We want to talk about solutions for Workforce Housing that facilitates homeownership in a way that is does not strain families.