Mike Vasser: Worst housing crisis in history | TheUnion.com

Mike Vasser: Worst housing crisis in history

Habitat for Humanity USA just published a report entitled "2017 Building Inclusive Communities through Homes That Last."

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity USA, in the foreword of the report states; "The U.S. is in the midst of the worst affordable housing crisis in its history. Virtually nowhere in the country can a full-time minimum wage employee afford a one-bedroom apartment. Even two such jobs won't rent a two-bedroom apartment in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

"… An increasing number of communities have begun seeking a more sustainable way to invest increasingly scarce local resources. Communities — and dozens of Habitat affiliates — are looking at shared-equity strategies that can help them sustain affordable housing opportunities. Those strategies look different in every community, but two general approaches are gaining momentum.

"'Dollars that last' is an effort to recapture subsidies when Habitat homes resell. In other communities, Habitat has adopted a strategy of 'homes that last,' contractually retaining the community's contribution in the houses themselves so that they remain continuously affordable, one low-income homeowner after another.

“We will continue to put God’s love into action as we bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.”Jonathan T.M. Reckford

"For example, Austin Habitat for Humanity in Texas developed HomeBase: a deed-restricted, shared-equity homeownership program that ensures long-term affordability for houses being built in a desirable, strong-market neighborhood that is close to jobs, public transportation and good schools. Any subsidies invested in the houses are not lost at resale, and when a house is sold. It remains affordable to another buyer.

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"Though re-sales are relatively uncommon at this point, a number of local Habitats are examining ways to make investments in affordable housing last. The actions we employ to draw nearer to our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live will always change as we find better ways to do our work, but our principles remain the same. We will continue to put God's love into action as we bring people together to build homes, communities and hope."

I would encourage anyone really interested in making affordable housing available through private and public partnerships read the report, including the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, city councils and staff. The report can be downloaded at http://www.habitat.org/about/advocacy/resources.

Mike Vasser lives in Grass Valley.

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