Since the start at CommonGood, we have been long on solutions to the housing affordability issues in this country both as an investment and a way to positively impact people and communities. Clean, safe, affordable housing – you have probably heard us say it a hundred times – is at the base of the hierarchy of needs and essential to promote human flourishing for all.
Already a dire situation for renters since the last economic crisis, in light of the coronavirus situation, it’s possible that solutions to housing affordability are more important than ever. According to calculations from National Association of Home Builders, more than half of households are priced out of a $250,000 home. Increasingly, rents are out of reach. Here in Orlando, one of the most most rent-burdened metropolitan statistical areas in the country, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that a minimum wage worker needs to log 96 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the Orlando metro area. Their 2020 Out of Reach report concluded that nationally “a full-time worker must earn at least $23.96 an hour to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment without spending more than 30% of income on rent.”
Without intentional investment, the problem only worsens for most Americans. From that same report, “The two-bedroom housing wage of $23.96 is more than what 60% of all wage and salary workers earn. The median hourly wage of $19.68 is just barely sufficient to afford a one-bedroom apartment, and nearly half of all workers earn less than that.”
One of the keys to solving these issues is having adequate supply of quality housing across the different price points to meet the demand, from subsidized housing to luxury apartments, and the often forgotten middle ground in workforce housing.