When you ask the average American what affordable housing is, many respond with high crime areas, unsafe communities, government handouts, and poor education. An affordable or low income home can be all or none of these, it all depends on your perception, your experiences, and then there’s the truth.
What is Affordable Housing?
To really understand affordable housing we need to look behind the scenes of the low cost housing sector.
The first type of affordable housing started way back in 1939. It was intended to assist poverty-stricken individuals and families who couldn’t afford the high costs of apartments to rent in or near the city.
Whether the government’s intention at the time was to prevent large-scale homelessness or to get what they could out of the low-income community, no one will really know. What did happen was segregation. Over time, the public housing market became synonymous with poverty, crime, and drug use. It was believed that only troubled communities lived in this type of housing which meant that surrounding property values dropped where public housing was erected.
In 2021, there is still an association between poverty and poor education or crime when affordable housing is mentioned. What many don’t know, is that today, affordable homes including government-owned public housing, are making a positive difference in the lives of those who use them.
Don’t get me wrong though, there are many low-cost homes in locations that have high crime rates but that doesn’t mean that it should overshadow the housing developments that are available for those who work hard but fall into the low-income housing bracket.
Today, low cost housing allows people to afford their rent and avoid becoming homeless. They can find secure places to rent whether through public housing, section 8, or affordable housing services. This also means the chance to work on their goals, their dreams, and raise a family so the next generation can have a rewarding future and not become a statistic.
Affordable housing is not a handout.
Many of the families that depend on public housing work full-time. Some even work more than one job just to provide for their families so affordable homes have nothing to do with handouts. While there are people who manipulate the system, many don’t and many need these programs to get on their feet and to build something bigger and better for their future.
I hope that you consider the benefits that affordable housing can provide for many people including families with children. I hope that the perception of the entire affordable housing market is not clouded by the stereotypes from the past or the few developments that are not considered safe or desirable. There are homes that can make a positive difference in people’s lives but it takes individuals and then communities to create the desired change.
It also starts with the absence of judgement when someone is interested in public housing or Section 8 programs. No one knows individual circumstances or personal stories and if someone needs low-cost housing to succeed in life, then so be it.
While the government still has a far way to go concerning affordable rentals for low-income earners, let’s not allow the stereotypes to get in the way of encouraging and helping others.