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Out of Reach: Housing at What Cost?
Is affordability a foreign word?

The below topics are discussed in much more depth
on our members' Housing Affordability page.

      Welfare reform is working ... by some standards . Social service rolls are continuing a decade long down-trend in many parts of the country, with declines of an amazing 15 to 40%. Both Clinton and the Congress both take all the credit. They gleefully report that despite the shift of responsibility to states, and cuts to federal programs like SSI and food stamps, the poor may not be thriving, but do seem to be surviving.
      You know what they say about statistics; figures lie and liars figure. Let's consider a couple of typical renters: a minimum-wage worker and a welfare recipient being forced from welfare to work. How many hours at minimum wage do you think they must work just to pay their rent? How much is left from each payday to feed and clothe their children? Can they afford a place to live in America today? The answers may surprise and should concern you.

The safety net has holes as big as a house

      For those who haven't yet left welfare, housing problems can be even worse. In 49 states, the maximum monthly public assistance cash grant is less than the monthly rent on a moderate two-bedroom apartment.
      Stability in homes and families are the key to healthy communities, good schools and a productive work force. A shortage of affordable housing leads to deteriorating inner cities, destabilized neighborhoods with frequent evictions, interruptions in education and increased family turmoil for vulnerable children.

Are Greedy Landlords Causing the Problem?

      Tenants usually don't vote and landlords often live outside the community where they own rental property; which has made rental housing politically vulnerable. Most lending institutions require larger down payments and charge a higher interest rate for rental property mortgages. Insurance companies charge higher premiums and require a separate tenant policy for the contents. Some states charge higher property taxes, municipalities double dip water rates and add extra fees of all kinds; including registration and inspection.
For millions of Americans, affordable rental housing is out of reach and everyone in every community will continue to pay a high price for this shortage. Government exacerbates the problem every time they attack low-income housing in their community without considering the alternative. Landlord and tenant political action may be the only way to address the problem.

See: Political Action | Affordable Housing

The above topics are discussed in much more depth
on our members' Housing Affordability page.

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