Sunday, October 15, 2023

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is a more complicated issue than the mainline media suggests. Other options besides local housing projects are needed. 

One thing is the homelessness problem. Most of these people, contrary to some myths, fall into three general categories. The first would be the group that isn't housed primarily due to the fact that there isn't more affordable housing. The second would be people with mental problems to varying extents. The third would be people with serious drug problems.

Then, there are a lot of people who are very unhappy with their housing situations. Living with roommates, for example, when someone is young, is one thing. Living this way as one gets older can be miserable.

There's also the issue of upward mobility. Someone wishing to, and with sufficient income to buy a house, needs to save up for a down payment.

There's been a large shift from having a large middle class which could afford houses, to a large class of service and retail workers. Most of these workers, if single, barely make enough to pay for a room.

Institutional investments in affordable housing should be limited.

Back to homelessness. A substantial portion of the first group would be off the street or out of shelters if they had better alternatives. These people may have physical problems preventing them from working full time, low social security (retired or disabled), bad rental histories/evictions, or low wages.

If this first group was housed, that would leave a huge amount of resources to deal with the other two groups. For example, some of the people with mental problems might just need meds. Some of them might be employable to varying extents if they received this. Some of the people with serious drug problems might see opportunity and this would motivate them to get sober.

Some of the people in the first group have difficulty finding decent jobs, and can't access public housing because they have criminal records. These barriers should be reduced for those that don't present a threat to society, such as those with low-level drug offenses (i.e. possession and street dealing). 

Some images courtesy of Pixabay.