“We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed. Among these [is] . . . the right of every family to a decent home.” —FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, 1944 Our Neighborhood, Our Community Housing—where we live and who we live with—is a fundamental and anchoring part of our identities as human beings. From the neighborhoods we grow up in to the communities where we plant our roots, and the homes we occupy throughout our lifetimes, the physical and social environment we call “our home” shapes us and the opportunities we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Access to a safe and nurturing home, one that is structurally sound and located in a safe, desirable community full of opportunities for personal development and growth, is cru- cial for childhood development. 1 In turn, positive early development is linked to higher academic performance, better personal health, and access to more socio-economic opportunities as an adult. Conversely, homes and neighborhoods that fail to provide a nurturing environment makes it increasingly difficult for disadvantaged children to access a better standard of living as adults. Thus, it is no surprise that almost eighty years ago, President Roosevelt platformed the right of every American to have access to a decent place to call home. Although much progress has been made in the ensuing decades to address the housing needs of Americans, we still live in a society where tens of millions struggle to maintain a proper housing, or are otherwise relegated to less desir- able neighborhoods devoid of opportunity. Failure of both liberal and conser- vative policies to adequately address affordable housing have led to permanent exclusion of the poorest Americans from affordable housing, perpetual housing insecurity among working class Americans, and (reduced, but) persistent dis- crimination by race in all communities, regardless of income. 2 There is no debate that a vast number of Americans currently lack access to affordable housing. Yet there is much disagreement over exactly how many Americans are affected, and what constitutes “affordable.” Such questions have widespread ramifications in the economic and policy field, which directly affects the types and quantities of aid that individuals and communities receive. Any approach to solving the affordable housing crisis must begin with a clear under- standing of who is affected and what can be done to help.
10 Pay for Success & Affordable Housing | Stefano Rumi
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