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

Families across the U.S. are paying too high a price to cover the cost of home. 

Rent and homeownership costs are skyrocketing, but wages are not keeping pace. Too many families struggle to make ends meet. In cities, suburbs, and rural areas, the stability that home should bring remains out of reach for many families. 

At Habitat for Humanity, we know that a family should never have to spend more than 30% of their income on a home. But today, nearly 19 million U.S. households pay 1/2 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.

Now, as the significant economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to unfold, the number of families struggling to make ends meet is only growing. Housing policy is also influenced by decades of systemic racism. Habitat for Humanity's Cost of Home campaign 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.

The time is now!

The upcoming election is the ideal opportunity for you to make affordable housing one of the issues you use to help you choose candidates. Use your voice to encourage others to vote and tell candidates that no family should have to spend more than half their income on housing.

Here's your "action kit":

  • Vote!
  • Send a message to your representatives to support greater housing stability
  • Follow us on Facebook for legislative alerts and other timely updates
  • Customize and download social media graphics and statistics to share with your networks
  • Bookmark this page - we'll keep it updated with additional references and calls to action
  • Get involved - learn about housing policies in your own community and ask questions of administrators and elected officials

 

Other Resources

Community-wide Housing Strategy (LISC)

Racial Disparities and Housing Policy (white paper from Habitat for Humanity International)

Housing Opportunities Made Equal website

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