NHPF Industry Report

NHPF Industry Report

Arlo Chase, Sr. Vice President: Real Estate & Property Development, of New York City’s S:US (Services for the Underserved) faced an uphill battle with a recent supportive housing project. In a city where land is scarce and red

tape is everywhere, changing trenchant local zoning laws to permit S:US to build required herculean efforts with local and state officials as well as community-based organizations. S:US prevailed, creating over 600 units of supportive and affordable housing in the heart of the Bronx. While these success stories are inspiring, there are countless other tales of affordable housing that goes unbuilt due to government obstacles or the public’s lack of appetite for building in their “backyards.” A bright spot though can be found in creating messaging for two demographic groups poised to help head off hypocrisy in affordable housing creation.

Women and Generation Z

Women are far more likely than men to believe unconditionally in affordable housing as a human right (65% vs. 53%) and may be best positioned to do something about it. Current data reports that 56% of the American workforce is female; in every U.S. presidential election dating back to 1984, women have turned out to vote at slightly higher rates than men (2020 Census Bureau); women now control some $10 trillion in U.S. financial assets; and according to a Bank of America study, women make 90% of household financial decisions including investment and philanthropic decisions. 39% of women in the NHPF study rank “meeting with residents of affordable housing” to understand their stories as one of the “most effective” ways to encourage their support for affordable housing, along with hearing success stories of residents who have overcome homelessness, and studies showing the costs of affordable housing (vs. the costs of homelessness). These statistics point to a prime opportunity to gain more support, and counter less NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard) from this group. The same potential exists with Generation Z. Interestingly, although 38% of Americans ages 18–25 have the highest concern about having to fund affordable housing, they may also be more easily enticed to support it. Recent reporting shows that young donors have a passion for activism and donating to causes that support human rights and social issues. The NHPF study shows that 33% of this group are most encouraged to support affordable housing based on “society benefiting due to decreased poverty and crime and economic opportunity arising as a result.” This group could also become more engaged


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