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Housing Insecurity - How Did We Get Here

Updated: Feb 1

If you aren't someone dealing with Housing Insecurity, 30% or more of your income is not tied up in your housing (rent/utilities) costs, the space you live in is well cared for and maintenance is addressed regularly...then it might be hard to believe how many Americans and how many of our neighbors deal with Housing Insecurity everyday.


For starters the median rent in the US increased from $483 in 2000 to $1,216 in 2021. Pair this with the continued rate of rent increases and inflation and you have the recipe for why many low to moderate income households find themselves facing insecurity when it comes to their home.


What most low to moderate income families can afford could be deemed "inadequate housing" by the American Housing Survey based on multiple factors and these factors perpetuate the risk of housing insecurity if the house:


  • "does not have hot and cold running water"

  • "does not have a bathtub or shower"

  • "does not have a flush toilet"

  • "shares plumbing facilities"

  • "unit was cold for 24 hours or more and more than two breakdowns of the heating equipment have occurred that lasted longer than 6 hours"

  • "electricity is not used"

  • "has exposed wiring, not every room has working electrical plugs, and the fuses have blown more than twice."

  • "has had outside water leaks in the past 12 months"

  • "has had inside water leaks in the past 12 months"

  • "has holes in the floor"

  • "has open cracks wider than a dime"

  • "has an area of peeling paint larger than 8 by 11 inches"

  • "rats have been seen recently in the unit."


Inadequate housing may be all a family can afford to keep a roof over their head. Local law and housing codes can help to make sure properties are maintained to limit or eliminate these factors. With average home values in the US increasing close to $100,000.00 over the last three years, affordable and adequate homes may seem out of reach for low to moderate income households.


But new, innovative rental developments and housing plans can provide safe, adequate and healthy housing for these families and can help eliminate the threat of eviction and utility cutoff with the correct financial management of the property. Non-profits hold a key to providing this kind of housing. Join a local non-profit in their work to increase the availability of affordable housing for low to moderate income level households in our community. You're investing in the community but you are also investing in people.

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