Two-story apartment homes with a green yard and a sunset.

Increasing the supply and preservation of affordable homes

 

Various strategies for increasing the supply and preservation of affordable homes

  • Creating new dedicated funding for local and state housing trust funds.
  • Increasing general fund appropriations for housing.
  • Adopting multiyear, general-obligation housing bonds.
  • Establishing and expanding state housing tax credits.
  • Creating new resources to support homes for those with the lowest incomes.
  • Expanding the availability of housing vouchers to make more existing homes affordable.

Communities across the United States are facing shortages of safe, decent housing where residents can afford to live and raise families.

In many cities and towns, these needs are growing, especially for renters. In fact, the country as a whole needs an additional 7.2 million rentals that people with extremely low-income can afford, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “On the rental side, there isn’t a single metropolitan area in America today where a family earning minimum wage can afford the fair market rent on a two-bedroom apartment,” says Henry Cisneros, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On the homeownership side, the market for existing single-family houses remains extremely tight, driving up prices and causing a scarcity of low-cost homes, according to Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“There isn’t a single metropolitan area in America today where a family earning minimum wage can afford the fair market rent on a two-bedroom apartment.”
— Henry Cisneros, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Federal housing programs do help local housing providers meet the challenge of increasing the supply of affordable homes. For example, HUD’s Home Investment Partnerships Program helps fund the construction, repair or rehab of affordable owner-occupied or rental housing, and HUD’s Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program helps nonprofits acquire land or foreclosed properties to develop affordable homes for first-time, lower-income homeowners.

HUD also is increasing the availability of affordable homes by helping low-income households afford existing housing. The Housing Choice Voucher program provides rental assistance to low-income households to help them afford decent and safe homes on the open market.

These federal programs, however, have not kept pace with the local needs. To supplement static or declining federal housing resources, local and state organizations are engaging in advocacy initiatives to persuade their governments to raise new housing resources of their own.

While we need federal funding, which we clearly do, the truth of the matter is that leadership has to come at the local level,” Cisneros says.

By coming together, we can shine a spotlight on the great need for more — and more available — affordable homes. That’s why the Cost of Home campaign places increasing the supply and preservation of affordable homes among its key areas of focus.

Add your voice as Habitat advocates for policies that will increase the production, preservation and accessibility of homes that are affordable for the families who need them most.

Solutions in action

Learn more about successes like these and how — when we come together — we can create lasting change through advocacy. Learn more about our Cost of Home campaign local policy successes.

Learn more | Cost of Home

Use these resources to learn more about policy solutions the Cost of Home campaign is working to achieve, the need for housing affordability and the ways local Habitat organizations are addressing the need for home affordability in their communities. 

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Success stories: Habitat’s advocacy achievements

As the Cost of Home campaign builds on our strong record of advocacy achievements, take a look at how these communities are successfully finding solutions and helping create policies that will allow 10 million individuals to meet their most basic needs.

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