Housing live in America no one can

Housing
affordability is every single American’s number one priority. Everyone wants to
have a roof over their head and they should not have to work themselves day in
and day out just to afford somewhere to live. In addition, no matter where you
live in America no one can afford to rent just a one – bedroom apartment
earning minimum wage. Affordable housing is defined as what a household should
be spending on their monthly housing costs and utilities. A
typical household should spend no more than thirty percent of their income on
their housing costs and utilities. (Out of Reach 2017) An example would be if
you made sixty thousand dollars annually, which would equal to about five
thousand dollars per month before taxes. Your recommended housing costs in
addition to utilities should be about fifteen hundred dollars per month that should
be spent on housing and utilities. If you were to pay fifty percent over the
recommended percentage you are considered severely housing cost burdened and
that would equal to if you pay more than twenty-five hundred dollars per month.
“The federal minimum wage is currently at seven dollars and twenty-five cents
per hour. With the 2017 wages at seventeen dollars and fourteen cents per hour with
the annual income of only fifteen thousand and eighty dollars this is a
discrepancy in this amount needed to afford at least a one-bedroom apartment.” (Out
of Reach 2017) Below is a fact overview (Figure 1) from
Out of Reach 2017 which was published by the National Housing Coalition that
explains the wages needed to afford rent across the United States in addition
to the federal wages.

There are three
different types of housing available to Americans. The first option is “Market
Rate Housing. Market Rate housing refers to properties that are rented or owned
by people who pay market rent to lease the property or paid market value when
they bought the property. The second options are Section Eight
Public Housing. Section Eight Public Housing refers to properties that were
originally built using a tax subsidy and are now required to provide
below-market rents for low-income people, persons with disabilities, and/or
seniors. Examples of those types of housing include: Low-Income Housing,
Disabled Housing, and Senior Housing. The
third option is Subsidized Housing. Subsidized Housing provides a voucher to
you to choose where you want to live in the community and lease from a private
landlord that will accept the voucher. The program then pays an ongoing monthly
subsidy to help you with your rent and utilities. You are usually required to
pay at least thirty percent of your income toward your rent and utilities, and
usually your subsidy is limited by Fair Market Rent.”
(Housing Type Definitions) Fair Market Rents are determined by the United
States Housing and Urban Development.     

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The
problem that continues to persist is that the recommended percentage that a
person should be spending on their housing needs should be no more than thirty
percent of their income, but millions of Americans are paying fifty percent or
more. Rent prices are also steadily rising and
wages cannot keep up. Nowhere in America can a person can earning minimum wage
afford to rent an apartment or home. The National Low-Income
Housing Coalition published The Gap: A
Shortage of Affordable Homes. The study reports over 11.4 million
extremely low-income renter households in the United States. (Gap Report 2017)
That number has increased from last year’s report as well. “The
shortage of affordable housing equates to thirty-four affordable and available
units per hundred extremely low-income renter households in the United States.
That seventy one percent of extremely low-income renter households are
severely-cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing
That ratio is exaggerated across the entire West Coast, as well
as Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and New Hampshire,
where there are thirty or fewer available affordable units per hundred
extremely low-income renter households. It is reported that the lowest is Nevada
with fifteen affordable units per hundred extremely low-income renter
households.” (Gap Report 2017)

The
population I chose to focus on was New Jersey but more specifically the urban
areas in New Jersey but I also chose the City of Camden specifically to
reference in my proposal. “Camden is
one of the nation’s most dangerous cities and among its poorest.” (NJ.com)
The “once bustling industrial hub for shipping and consumer goods is now a
ghost of its former self, like so many other urban neighborhoods.” (Holloway) New
Jersey’s minimum wage is currently at eight dollars and forty-four cents per
hour. “There are only twenty-nine units
affordable and available units hundred extremely low-income renters in New
Jersey.” (Gap Report 2017) “For
a person to afford a one-bedroom apartment in New Jersey, they must earn at
least seventeen dollars and eighty-six cents per hour. In addition, for a
person to afford a two-bedroom apartment they will have to make at least twenty-seven
dollars and thirty-one cents per hour. In
New Jersey the Fair Market Rent for at least a two-bedroom apartment is one
thousand four hundred and twenty dollars. A typical household must earn four
thousand seven hundred thirty-four dollars monthly or fifty-six thousand eight
hundred and then dollars annually just to afford rent in addition to other
utilities, responsibilities and much more.” (Out of Reach 2017)

My plan for the urban
areas in New Jersey is to bring in mixed income housing.  Tearing down and demolishing the run – down
building would be the first task. Then building
mixed – income housing while providing the residents who
are renting with assistance tools to become self – sufficient. In addition to
building more housing we also need to discuss the problem of wages not being
sufficient enough to afford an apartment. There is an act titled “Raise the
Wage Act” also known as “Fight for 15” being proposed. If
this act is passed it will “raise the minimum wage in America to nine dollars
and twenty-five cents immediately then gradually raising it to fifteen dollars
by 2024. The act believes
it will help more families make ends meet, expand economic opportunity, and help
build an economy that works for all families, not just the top one percent. The
act will also gradually increase the tipped minimum wage, which has been fixed
at two dollars and thirteen cents per hour since 1991.” (Scott) In
contrast,
“simply
raising the minimum wage won’t be enough to solve the country’s affordable
housing crisis for low-income renters because increasing the amount of money
chasing a limited supply of housing isn’t going to do that.” (The
National Low Income Housing Coalition)
In cities that have already began raising the minimum wage, the amount earned
continues to fall well short of what is needed to afford an apartment,
according to a report to by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. The act
will also cause bigger paychecks from employers that will force them to cut
costs and services and can ultimately damage a small business.
Raising the minimum wage will certainly benefit some workers and has the appeal
of greater fairness. An alternative to the act is the “Earned Income Tax Credit
will target low-income families much better. It will also increase employment,
and reduce poverty, and for all these reasons seems far more effective.
Policymakers will most likely to do a better job fighting poverty by making the
Earned Income Tax Credit more generous than by raising the minimum wage.” (Cox)

“Singapore was once home
to one of the worst housing crises in the world. Today Singapore has
accomplished an extraordinary rise in the level of living conditions and their
economic growth has been massive.” (Cram)  “More than ninety percent of Singaporeans in
public housing own the apartment they live in. The
government subsidizes the cost of new homes, and buyers can get loans from the
Housing Development Board, along with a ten percent down payment. Singapore’s
public housing is also mixed-income developments. The plan is to get the poor
and the well-off living cheek by jowl in a mixture of market-rate and
subsidized homes.” (Rovnick) Mixed-income
developments are also being built in “Chicago as a strategy to help address
poverty and rebuild communities in the inner city. Mixed-income development
aims to attract middle-income families to the site of former public housing
developments, while retaining a portion of the low-income population, by
demolishing the buildings and building high quality housing.” (Chaskin) The new
developments are home to owners and renters, and include a mixture of
market-rate, affordable and public apartment units. Mixed income housing has also
been done successfully in Connecticut. Connecticut has a successful project
called HOME
Connecticut.
“HOME
Connecticut is a statewide campaign aimed at increasing the stock of affordable
housing in Connecticut. Housing affordability is a crucial element in the
state’s efforts to remain economically competitive and preserve the quality of
life that has drawn population and businesses to the state. The ability of the
state to attract the workers, young professionals and investment necessary to
provide jobs and revenues is clearly dependent on its ability to provide the
range of housing opportunities and choices needed by the full spectrum of its
citizens. Some of the communities that Connecticut has built are also mixed –
income housing developments.” (Partnership for Strong Communities) Singapore,
Chicago and Connecticut have provided stepping stones for mixed income housing
to be incorporated into Camden, New Jersey.

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