Across America, the issue of housing affordability has crippled already low-income families by costing them nearly half of what they earn, thus making other necessities an expendable use of their money in comparison.
Most homeowners who live in generally safe and well-groomed neighborhoods tend to forget the 12.3% or 39.7 million Americans live in poverty, precariously balancing the accumulation of money from various minimum wage jobs between payments for housing, expenses for food and water, education, and a health care plan (UC Davis Center for Poverty Research).
For example, the Wichita State University Center for Community Support and Research released a community needs assessment stating that the social issue of persons of all ages below the federal poverty level as of 2012 was 21.2% in Riley County and 14.0% in Kansas overall (Community Needs Assessment for Riley County, 28).
This means that although the amount of low-income families is vast, there is still not enough well-kept housing available that they can easily afford. To continue, there haven’t been many policies enacted that have successfully integrated the impoverished into society or lowered the cost of living in many states, and to most people, having a stable residency or home life allows them a sense of confidence to fuel their aspirations of moving up.
With that in mind, Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity (MAHFH) focuses on giving new homeowners a hand up instead of hand out; providing them with the tools and resources they need in order to thrive independently.
In fact, Habitat mortgages do not exceed one third of the homeowners’ monthly income. This instills a more positive outlook within the homeowners and brings families out of poor living spaces and into homes that they can afford, taking the burden of flooding all of their earnings into maintaining a residence off their shoulders. The homeowners are then able to put more money aside for a savings account or towards other needs they may require.
The security a home provides is undeniable and should be a privilege that all people should have access to, which is the main viewpoint of the Cost of Home campaign. Recently, they have been publicizing the rallying statement of, “Over the next five years, we commit to mobilizing…across the country to find the solutions and help create the policies that will allow 10 million individuals to meet their basic needs,” (Cost of Home campaign). The aforementioned campaign, launched on June 12 of 2019, and its goal of making the cost of housing more economically sound for all Americans is indisputable.
Having assessed the problem, this brings up the topic of what the Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity is doing to combat the arising housing affordability crisis. MAHFH provides many means of support to the less fortunate in Riley and Pottawatomie County, offering furniture and materialistic needs through the ReStore for a discounted price, constructing and repairing homes, helping new homeowners bring more stability into their home lives, and working with numerous community members to slowly rid Kansas of this restless epidemic.
All Habitat organizations rely on the help of volunteers and local partnerships to complete the many projects that we get involved with over the span of one year. This means that your interest in lending a hand to this worldwide push for decent housing for all is an appreciated effort, and everyone can make a difference if we are willing to be self-starters and work for the change before waiting for someone else to lead the campaign.