Having a roof above one’s head is a basic need for every American, and this is why the affordable workforce housing crisis is a problem that should be of concern for everyone, says Maxwell Drever. The lack of affordable workforce housing has many economic and societal repercussions. You will hardly find a US citizen who has not felt the effects of lack of affordable housing in some abstract way. The housing crisis has touched one and all as people’s desire to live in places of their choice within their means mostly remains unfulfilled.
According to Maxwell Drever, the growing homeless population of the US and Canada is the most concerning aspect of the affordable workforce housing crisis. Every American city faces the daunting task of dealing with a growing population of homeless citizens living in sprawling encampments. On a given night, two of one thousand people in a given city live either under the sky or in shelters provided by local authorities. Meaning there are approximately 550,000 homeless people nationwide.
However, this number is not sufficient to describe the full magnitude of the problem as it excludes those who sleep in conditions that are at best temporary or in their cars. From a homelessness perspective, those individuals you see sleeping along the sidewalks are only the tip of the iceberg, for there are several untold stories of endless misery—all about people who cannot afford a place that they can call home.
The housing crisis is more than just stories about homelessness, says Maxwell Drever
To understand the depth and dimension of the housing crisis, you must look beyond the stories of homelessness. That point to only a part of the problem. The puzzle of the housing crisis is much larger and complex than homelessness, which is the most visible part of the puzzle. The demographic is changing fast as everyday people are moving away from their families. And friends, children are heading back to their parents, and seniors are contemplating delaying their retirement. This happens because so many are unable to afford adequate shelter.
Cost burden resulting from the housing crisis
Maxwell Drever suggests taking a view of the housing crisis through the lens of an economist. According to policymakers, those paying more than 30% of post-tax earnings toward housing is under a financial constraint and labeled ‘cost-burdened.’ Recent research shows that one-third of the American population experiences cost-burden. One out of seven households pays more than 50% toward housing, thereby making them severely cost-burdened. Almost 40% of wage earners are unable to rent a modest one-bedroom home.
Although there is a lot of talk about improving the affordable workforce housing crisis, solutions remain elusive. Indeed, it’s not just about housing affordability, or about developers building homes available at low rents, or even about allowing random developers to acquire tax incentives and other financial benefits. That said, the solution at present remains elusive. There is an answer out there for sure. For the sake of the many at-risk individuals and families, it should be found and soon.