Survey outlines need for affordable quality housing among U.S. families

Earlier this year, the MacArthur Foundation released the results of a survey of U.S. adults conducted to inform the work of the foundation’s How Housing Matters initiative.

How Housing Matters explores a truth that is central to the work of Habitat for Humanity: Housing can play a key role in positively influencing a family’s education, employment and health opportunities. The results of the 2014 How Housing Matters survey reveal a second truth just as central to why we build: “The concerns and challenges related to affordable quality housing are real for many Americans.” The survey, among its other findings, shares that:

  • While the vast majority of Americans feel stable and secure in their current housing situation, insecurity touches nearly half of adults at some point in their lives.
  • A majority of Americans believe that it is challenging to find affordable quality housing in their communities.
  • More than half of all adults have made at least one tradeoff in the past three years to cover their rent or mortgage. Tradeoffs include taking second jobs, cutting back on health care and healthy food, and moving to less safe neighborhoods.

“Even for people making the median income, people really see that there’s a lack of affordable housing in their own communities,” says Ianna Kachoris, MacArthur Foundation housing program officer. “So it’s not just anywhere and everywhere, it’s in their own communities.”

This is why Habitat builds. Because too many families — in communities all around the world — know the worry and wear of not having a decent place to call home. Because too many families know the impossible tradeoffs that must be endured to afford acceptable shelter.

We build because we know that we can help change the reality of these staggering statistics. In line with three in five adults who responded to the MacArthur survey, we believe that a lot can be done to solve the problem of housing affordability. When you help us partner with more families, together we create stability, security and hope for them and renewal, vitality and vision for your community.

Learn more about the survey’s findings around housing insecurity and affordability issues, the impacts experienced by those in distressed housing situations, and the belief that something can be done. You’ll see stirring examples of how the work you so generously support helps to address these issues, and you’ll see how, with your help, Habitat envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live.