Affordable quality housing statistics and how Habitat is helping

A rundown apartment whose rent increases are as unpredictable as the streets all around. Constant movement to try to find a safer, more affordable place to live. Crowding in with family or friends to make ends meet. Worrying about making the mortgage every month.

Housing need is all around us

According to the 2014 How Housing Matters survey:

  • Forty-seven percent of adults surveyed experience unstable or insecure housing situations at some point in their lives. That number rises to 59 percent for families whose income is less than 40,000.
  • In every region of the U.S. — Northeast, South, Midwest and West — anywhere from 53 to 69 percent of those surveyed classify the purchase of affordable housing as challenging in their community.
  • Fifty-eight percent say that a family of four with an income of about 50,000 would have a hard time finding affordable quality housing. That number skyrockets to 88 percent for a family of four with an income closer to 24,000.
  • Most survey participants believe that friends and family who are getting older will face challenges meeting their housing needs. Sixty-five percent highlight affordability as a top issue, second only to an individual’s physical needs as they age.

Habitat’s response to these startling housing statistics

How does Habitat for Humanity work to address the immense need illustrated by these startling statistics?

We build. We repair and rehabilitate. We advocate for vital resources to build homes and improve communities. We partner with families to improve — and stabilize — their housing conditions.

A few examples:

  • When Noel Sindihokubwabo’s family built with Dallas Habitat, they were able to leave behind a cramped apartment in an unsafe neighborhood. In addition to the joy of a vibrant neighborhood, the family now knows financial stability. “When I pay my money,” Sindihokubwabo says, “I know that I’m depositing it somewhere. One day the house will be mine — and it will be there for our kids.”
  • Macomb County Habitat has created a thriving neighborhood full of affordable housing opportunities, where before there had been only an overgrown, weed-choked field.
  • Dylann Vendola went from paying half her salary for rent to enjoying an affordable mortgage payment on her Loudon County Habitat home.
  • When upkeep and repairs on the house in which they raised their family were becoming too difficult for a World War II veteran and his wife, Habitat Kent County volunteers helped make repairs and improvements to his home, including the addition of an exterior ramp that makes it easier for him to come and go.

Families for whom an affordable home means the difference between instability and opportunity. Families who simply need the hand-up that access to an affordable mortgage provides. Families for whom a much-needed repair means the ability to stay in their home.

These are the families with whom we build.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of blog posts exploring the findings of the MacArthur Foundation’s 2014 How Housing Matters survey, the impacts experienced by those in distressed housing situations and the belief that something can be done.