Despite housing being one of the necessities of human life, many working Americans struggle to find affordable housing says Maxwell Drever. When you spend less than 30% of your total earnings on your accommodation, it means you live in affordable housing. Unfortunately, almost 43 million households in the US feel cost-burdened due to steep rental rates. It doesn’t allow them to save much and restricts them from spending money in other sectors, such as healthcare, education, etc. Some communities believe that it is other people’s problem as they cannot relate to the working class. But they fail to realize that communities depend on their services in their daily lives.
Many other aspects may not be immediately visible. However, one must be aware of the negative impact of the shortage of affordable workforce housing on communities and the country.
How does the short supply of affordable workforce housing impact everyone?
Maxwell Drever points out valid reasons why the focus should be on delivering affordable workforce housing. If you talk about the low and middle-income groups, high housing costs keep them away from healthcare, transportation, and food security. These are bare essential requirements of life, which they cannot access smoothly. Because of their financial constraints, they fail to optimize their income. They have to let go of jobs to cut down their travel expenses, which adds to their cost burden. Besides, those who travel long distances contribute to high traffic. Since environmental changes are already a threat, traffic only aggravates it by causing noise and pollution. At the same time, not including them in the neighborhoods shows the lack of cultural diversity.
It doesn’t end there, though. Teachers, police officers, health workers, salespeople, firefighters are integral to society’s progress, development, and safety. When they fail to fulfill their basic requirements like affordable housing in the community they serve, it creates further disparity and the risk of disruption, which was evident during the pandemic-driven lockdowns. Then, many companies need low and middle-income groups for their growth and expansion. But they also face difficulty with filling the vacancies as many people cannot take the job due to the fear of traveling inconvenience and costs. Eventually, the impact of all this reflects on the nation’s economy and GDP.
That’s why it is essential to understand that building affordable housing in the neighborhoods can only help everyone and society flourish. When they live close to their workplace, they can save more and spend on other sectors. You cannot think of improvement until this problem gets solved.
A sound solution for tackling the housing crisis
Maxwell Drever says that new land acquisition and construction costs remain the constant hurdle in the development process. As an alternative, one can consider converting closed or old hotels into housing units for affordability. Since all the structures are already in place, minor modifications can take care of the rest and speed up the process of rehabilitation and delivery.
The widening demand and supply gap may not get instantly eradicated. But concrete steps like this can bring massive positive transformation. So it is worth paying attention here.