their living situation “neutral to negative,” with disturbing consequences and implications. Respondents believe that financially forced living situations result in unequal sharing of responsibilities (47%), jealousy (37%), mental stress (42%), depression (37%) and most concerning of all, physical and emotional abuse (19%). Data from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ) reveals that the number of domestic violence incidents in the US increased by 8.1% after lockdown orders. What can be done to alleviate the need to live together for financial reasons and to help those currently in such a situation? When asked how helpful landlords, resident services providers, or management companies could be in alleviating the negative impacts of such living arrangements, over 60% of those queried rank onsite or nearby services most highly (“extremely/very helpful”) including childcare, mental health counseling, and financial and/or employment counseling.” Overall, residents in service-enriched affordable housing (permanent rental housing in which social services are available onsite or by referral through a supportive services program or resident services coordinator) experience gains in areas such as financial literacy, academic achievement, job retention and more. Survey respondents were also asked to rank government programs by helpfulness. The highest ranking (“extremely/very helpful”) government actions to alleviate the need for financially motivated co-living relationships include: • (65%) Automatic financial aid at the outset of a crisis (financial, natural disaster, Pandemic) • (65%) Increased affordable housing (specifically housing which is more resilient—built to withstand financial, natural, and medical crises) • (60%) Zoning changes that create more affordable housing options “Experts agree, access to affordable, resilient housing will ensure that people can afford to live with those they choose rather than by what their finances dictate,” according to Richard F. Burns, President & CEO of NHPF. 7 Strategies to Increase Access to Affordable Housing The high price of rent and cost-burdened home ownership are current national woes: the Pandemic, job loss, racial and social inequity, and crushing student debt add to the adversity that is currently forcing some into financial cohabitation, changing relationship dynamics in often unhealthful ways. To that end, NHPF has developed seven strategies to ensure individuals and families can attain and maintain affordable housing.
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