A Clarion Call to the Affordable Housing Community
ON NOVEMBER 12, 2015, we were very pleased that Affordable Housing Finance published “Unaffordable Housing: A Root Cause of Social Inequality,” a white paper by NHPF President & CEO Richard F. Burns and Sr. Vice President Thomas G. Vaccaro. The piece has received a good degree of exposure across various social media platforms. It serves as a clarion call for the affordable housing sector to recognize the role we can and should play in addressing social inequality in our country. The full white paper is available at nhpfoundation.org, and excerpts are shared here for your consideration. We hope it will continue to spark conversation and commitment to finding the best path forward to reduce social inequality by creating better and more housing opportunities for low and middle income Americans. Data on the residents NHPF serves give a clear and poignant example we ought not to ignore. There are over 6,000 housing units in the NHPF portfolio. In 2,216 of the units, the residents make 50% or less of the area median income (AMI) for their community. Ensuring their access to safe and sustainable housing is an imperative need that must not go unmet.
“SOCIAL INEQUALITY” is the new philanthropic buzz phrase that covers a wide range of hard-to- resolve societal problems. For example: racial bias; right-to-vote issues; inferior schools; low-paying job opportunities; homelessness; and limited access to quality nutrition and health care. IN OUR VIEW, rundown apartment units located in desperately poor neighborhoods are a root cause of many quality-of-life issues. And these issues will only become more widespread, intractable, and irreversible as the crisis of unaffordable housing continues to spread from poor, underclass households to those earning average median incomes and above. The number of U.S. households that spend at least half their income on rent could increase by 25% to 14.8 million over the next decade. This will include significant numbers of households in higher income brackets already struggling to find affordable rental units close to their workplaces. FOR DECADES, our housing policies have forced entire generations of Americans into neighborhoods— whether labeled public housing, low-income housing, or undercapitalized affordable housing—offering little supportive educational or social services. The result has been unemployment, ever increasing crime rates,
NHPF Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report
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