NHPF Industry Report
Based on the above, “affordable housing” is for everyone! But, dig deeper and the hypocrisy starts to show.
• 40% of the public surveyed have reservations about the statement “housing should be a human right” • Of that group, 47% feel that making housing a human right “may cost me money” or “take resources from me, my business or my family” • Many could not be convinced that homelessness is a business problem with economic impact for all (47% ranked this response as the least likely to convince them of the need to guarantee housing)
What more needs to be done to tackle this kind of public response?
According to Executive Director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, Jeff Olivet, ending homelessness starts with “pairing an increase in housing with an upstream [homelessness] prevention strategy.” Almost 900,000 people a year exit homelessness through programs that work. Yet 900,000 more fall into it. The soon-to-be-released Biden-Harris administration’s federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness starts with how to stem the tide of people moving into homelessness, particularly looking at critical transitions such as when young people age out of foster care. Research suggests that 9 out of 10 of those aging out of the system into homelessness are youth of color, about 50% identify as LGBTQ. The government will include a prevention strategy in the upcoming plan, that is also a racial equity strategy and includes supports for LGBTQ young people at a crucial moment in their lives. The government and those in the housing and service provision world need to do the same thing transitioning people from jail and prison back into the community and those transitioning from military service back into civilian life. According to Olivet, “We've got to do better at these critical moments of transition so that people don't become homeless in the first place.”
Jon Searles, Community and Economic
Development Officer, Wisconsin Housing
and Economic Development
Authority (WHEDA), has seen positive results by focusing on the “real people” who would be living in an affordable
apartment community: retail workers, teachers, police officers, nurses, etc. through a campaign including ads, personal outreach, and media relations. This effective messaging resonated positively with the community and helped the development move forward.
BATTLING HYPOCRISY TO BUILD POPULAR SUPPORT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING • 5
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