“Affordable” is a dirty word when talking about housing. Why?
The phrase “affordable housing” sends people’s minds into a skid. You lose control in a skid. Affordable equates to Section 8 and that equates to the neighborhood going to hell.
Funny thing though. Affordable means not spending more than 30% of your income on housing. No one needs to tell you that rents are high and going higher. The map is too small to read easily but the National Low Income Housing Coalition at this link, has plenty of information on the wage required to rent a 2-bedroom apartment in every state.
Lucky me. Two conferences are dealing with this very issue. Last month, I was fortunate to attend the annual Illinois Governor’s Conference on Affordable Housing put on by the Illinois Housing Council and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
The plenary session topic, Reframing Affordable Housing named the problem: Developing affordable housing is a minefield because community resistance–NIMBY (not in my back yard)–immediately kicks into high gear. How can you develop affordable housing if you can’t even use the term?
I’m traveling to New York next week to attend the National Housing Conference Solutions for Housing Communications 2016 Convening. The conference focus is learning to communicate effectively that everyone needs housing that they can afford and finding it is increasingly rare.
Suitable housing is a more comprehensive term because it takes in to account one’s life stage, life style and budget. Suitable is different when you are 20, 60 or 80. Families with children, those with teenagers, people with disabilities–everyone actually–all have different needs. We, as a civilized society, need to meet those needs effectively.
Home sharing might work for some people. My strategy of partnering with religious and community groups, and creating opportunities for people to mix together often is a good place to start.
If this interests you, I would like to meet with your church, mosque, temple or community organization. Together, let’s lubricate the social gears that will help us stay connected and healthy. For more information, please e-mail email@example.com.
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