AMERICA IS FACING a growing threat that will only get worse unless thoughtful, multi-faceted solutions are brought to bear.
The increasing scarcity of safe affordable housing threatens all of us. Unfortunately, this threat is often invisible to all but the low- and moderate-income families and seniors being denied adequate shelter.
As reported by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies in The State of the Nation’s Housing 2014, the number of renter households increased by more than 500,000 in 2013. Sadly, more than a quarter of that growth represents households subsisting on less than $15,000 in annual income. An additional 30% of that increase is attributed to households surviving on only $15,000 – $29,999 in income during the course of a year. These are clearly Americans for whom the operating margins to keep a roof over their heads are unspeakably tight.
Because the vast majority of renters are forced to spend a high percentage of their income to secure affordable housing, they are left with insufficient resources for proper nutrition, healthcare and other basic necessities. Whether it is a young working family with small children or a senior on a fixed income, this housing crisis often sets up a spiral of failure.
That failure is something they suffer through and are challenged by every day. It also affects us as citizens of a nation that can do better for the least advantaged among us.