policy wins influenced by local and state Habitat organizations

$21.7 billion

unlocked in government funds for home affordability

6.6 million

people gained access to affordable homes

Cost of Home impact

Measurable transformation in home affordability

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity launched Cost of Home, a five-year home affordability advocacy campaign in the U.S. With the goal of influencing policies to support access to affordable homes for 10 million people, in four years, Cost of Home has supported over 300 policy successes and improved access to affordable homes for 6.6 million people.

Urban Institute’s analysis of the Cost of Home campaign

The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity, released a research report funded by Habitat for Humanity that provides evidence that policy and systems change supported by local and state Habitat organizations participating in Cost of Home created measurable transformation in home affordability in communities around the country. Although the long-term impact of these policy innovations may take time to fully understand, the short-term benefits indicate progress.

Discover our impact

Explore all the policy successes supported by local and state Habitat organizations through a searchable database and a research report, as well as strategies for advocacy practitioners on creating policy change:

The Urban Institute report — Local and State Policies to Improve Access to Affordable Housing: Examination and Assessment of Eight Policies Supported by Habitat for Humanity’s Cost of Home Campaign — is based on an examination of eight policy changes, across the campaign’s four policy focus areas, that were enacted by local and state Habitat organizations through various advocacy efforts. The study assesses the policies’ theory of changes, their impact, whether outcomes met expectations and corresponding implications. 

In addition to the policy assessment report, the Urban Institute also developed a typology or searchable database and will soon publish an accompanying typology brief of the policy successes and systems changes. 

By speaking with diverse stakeholders, the Urban Institute revealed that Cost of Home has also been an effective capacity building initiative that supports local advocacy for a range of public policies. The campaign’s policy platform, with four focus areas, is adaptable and viable even in the fast-changing COVID-19 pandemic era. Read about strategies that are critical to successful advocacy.   

Join us

We still have one more year of the Cost of Home campaign to increase access to affordable homes. Your voice can help us meet our goal of impacting 10 million people. 

Cost of Home campaign progress reports

This annual update provides a snapshot of the collective progress being made to change housing policies and systems through the Cost of Home campaign.

Why is advocating for home affordability important?

Over 20.3 million households – nearly 1 in 6 – paid over half their income on housing in 2021. When families spend disproportionately on housing, they are forced to make impossible choices on other basic needs, such as food, health care and transportation. 

See how your state ranks for home affordability by viewing the collection of state of affordability fact sheets

  • Woman with sticker that says, "I enrolled!"

    Achieving policy solutions in the four areas laid out by our platform will enable families to have greater access to homes they can afford — and to all the opportunities that follow.

  • Family outside their home.

    Families across the United States are paying too high a price to cover the cost of home. Rents and homeownership costs are skyrocketing while wages are not keeping pace. Everyone should have enough money left over after paying rent or mortgage costs to cover life’s necessities.

  • A graphic of a house icon with a mother and two kids in front.

    1 in 7 households in the U.S. pay half or more of their income on a place to live, an issue only heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our interactive Cost of Home experience, you can walk through the decisions a household has to make as they work to cover all their other costs. Could you help them make it work?