Cost of Home, launched in 2019, is a five-year advocacy campaign through which local and state Habitat for Humanity organizations, partners, volunteers and community members across the United States are working together so that 10 million people have access to an affordable home.

Entering its fifth and final year, Cost of Home has already helped 6.6 million people access stable, affordable homes through our advocacy to influence more than 300 policies at the local, state and federal levels.

The Urban Institute recently examined Cost of Home policy successes and noted the transformation the campaign has led. Check out our impact page to read the Urban Institute’s research report, explore a searchable database of all policy changes, use interactive maps to sort policy changes by focus areas and geographies, and read about strategies to support policy change. 

Why Cost of Home matters

Families all across the United States are paying too high a price to cover the cost of home.

At Habitat, we know that a family should never have to spend more than 30% of their income on a home. Yet, 20.3 million households nearly 1 in 6 paid over half their income on housing in 2021.

Everywhere you look — cities, suburbs, rural areas — the stability that home should bring remains out of reach for far too many families.

That is unacceptable.

We know the complexities that surround the cost of home. We also know the struggle, stress and pain of far too many families in our communities. Families who have suffered from redlining, racial inequality and the housing disparities that follow. Families who have worked hard and still come up short, not because of their own efforts, but because of systemic issues and an inequitable economy. And we know that those with the fewest resources are always the ones who are forced to make the hardest choices. 

Everyone deserves to build the foundation for a stable, healthy future for themselves and their families — no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they earn. 

Through our five-year Cost of Home campaign, we are mobilizing our local and state Habitat organizations, our partners, our volunteers and community members across the country to find the solutions and help create the policies that will allow 10 million individuals to meet their most basic needs.

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Strategies for housing advocates to effect policy change

Habitat funded the Urban Institute to assess eight policy changes and conduct interviews with various stakeholders. Based on their findings, Urban Institute researchers found six key strategies for change delivering policy and systems change at local, state and federal levels. 

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Database of policy successes

Urban Institute has developed a searchable database of the policy successes and systems changes influenced by local and state Habitat organizations in the four years since the launch of the Cost of Home advocacy campaign.

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What is housing affordability?

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.

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Experience the Cost of Home

Nearly 1 in 6 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?

Try it out