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1 in 6 U.S. households spend half or more of their income on housing

Families all across the United States are paying too high a price to cover the cost of home. 

Rent and homeownership costs are skyrocketing, while wages are not keeping pace. Far too often, families struggle to make ends meet. Everywhere you look — cities, suburbs, rural areas — the stability that home should bring remains out of reach for far too many families.

At Habitat for Humanity, we know that a family should never have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on a home. But consider that today nearly 19 million U.S. households pay half or more of their income on a place to live.

That is unacceptable.

That means that 1 in 6 families are denied the personal and economic stability that safe, decent and affordable housing provides. Instead, 1 in 6 families are forced to make impossible choices. Safe homes. Nutritious food on the table. Health care. Access to good schools. Reliable transportation. Which would you choose?

At Habitat for Humanity, we know that a family should never have to spend more than 30% of their income on a home. But consider that even before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 18 million U.S. households were paying half or more of their income on a place to live. Now, as the significant economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to unfold, the number of families struggling to make ends meet is only growing.

Our housing policy work must address systemic racism. That is why Cost of Home calls for advocates and policymakers to acknowledge and address the well-documented historic patterns of racial discrimination in housing and land use policies — at all levels of government — that still impact the makeup and opportunities of our communities.

We have to take a stand and declare our commitment: Habitat for Humanity will work to ensure that no family has to pay more than half of their paycheck to cover the cost of home.

Over the next five years, we will join Habitat organizations, our partners, our volunteers, and community members across the country to find the solutions and help create the policies that will allow 10 million individuals to meet their most basic needs.

What can you do?

Bookmark this page - we'll keep it updated with additional references and calls to action.

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Get involved - learn about housing policies in your own community and ask questions of adminstrators and elected officials

Vote - make affordable housing one of the issues you use to help choose candidates

 

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