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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Over 5 Million Families Are Living In Low Income Housing Like This - Should You Care?

Low Income Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has reported that the U.S. has reached an all-time high of families living on incomes that at 50 percent below median income. These families are referred to statistically as families with worst case housing needs, and they number over 5.4 million. They represent 5 percent of the population and one sixth of all renters in the U.S. Even if you are not among these families, there are many reasons why you should care.

Affordable housing affects everyone, not just those who are struggling to achieve it. It affects housing costs, education, and health--all social issues that can have negative outcomes due to the lack of affordable housing. HUD defines affordable as housing costs that do not exceed 30 percent of total household income. But the fact remains that there are more than 12 million households that pay more than 50 percent of their incomes for housing. With rising rents and home prices, families need more options in affordable housing.

Why You Should Care

Children living in substandard housing or no housing at all--living in shelters or with friends and family--are less likely to do well in school and further their education. Education is important for communities to attract businesses that pay high wages to employees. According to the National Governors Association, housing costs are a primary factor in determining whether a state can attract and retain employees and businesses.

Lack of affordable housing increases health care costs, too. Children are more likely to suffer from asthma, anemia, viral infections and other health problems due to living in substandard housing conditions. This leads to more hospitalization and other health care costs in an already rising health care nation. In addition, many low-income families may lack sufficient income to afford health care.

Affordable housing is an issue that affects everyone, regardless of whether it affects us personally or not. Aside from the implications on housing costs, education and health, it is also a moral responsibility. Everyone should be able to afford a decent place to live.


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