Affordable housing is an important issue in the United States, with an ever-growing demand for affordable homes. Families who spend 30% of their income for housing are considered housing-burdened, and as a result, may qualify for assistance. Through government and private programs, there a variety of options for housing, with its associated advantages, which include:
- The main draw is in the name: affordable. Affordable housing gives qualifying people the stability of housing at a price they can afford.
- It is the most economical housing for the elderly, disabled, and low-income families to qualify.
- For certain programs, such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as Section 8, renters can also get a good amount of flexibility as well. Section 8 works with private landlords to provide housing, with renters paying approximately 30% of their post-tax income and the government paying the difference to the landlord.
Of course, there cannot be advantages without disadvantages, and even the best of the public housing programs are not exempt. They are as follows:
- However, due to the demand for affordable housing, there are almost always very long wait times for government programs. The wait for the Section 8 housing programs can range from several months to even several years depending on the demand for the area and available resources. In fact, some areas have such high demand that they have actually closed their waitlists.
- While there are alternative Section 8 housing away from bigger cities, those options may require people to move. Even if blah affordable housing opens up somewhere far away, there are often hidden costs of moving that low-income families might not be able to afford.
- In addition, public housing tends to be crowded and not have as much privacy. In addition, public housing has been correlated with increased rates of crime and drug use.
Overall, affordable housing provides people and families in need a great opportunity for housing. Stable housing means more than just a roof over a families head. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are often limitations and downsides to these affordable housing programs that a renter should be aware of before making a decision.