hadn’t seen her in several months. Shalimar reported that she has been very busy working her full-time job, while attending college. She’s currently in a certificate program to become an interpreter, and plans to continue her education towards a bachelor’s degree in business management. Shalimar told Pam that she’s working hard to achieve her goal to buy a house someday, and because of her internship with Operation Pathways, she understands the planning and effort needed to achieve that dream. Shalimar thanked Pam for helping her manage her income last summer, teaching her the importance of prioritizing her expenses. “Now I look at those sunglasses, that shirt, that milkshake . . . and I think, that’s one hour of work!” Shalimar also had a positive influence on her family, who she claims never saw the importance of saving money. This year, they will go on their first family vaca- tion ever because Shalimar encouraged everyone in her family make a monthly contribution to a vacation fund. Shalimar is also encouraging her younger sister to be responsible with money. She told Pam to make sure that there will still be a summer internship program for her sister when she turns 16. Shalimar is working hard every day, continuing her education, prioritizing her expenses, modeling good fiscal behaviors to her family, mentoring her sister, and working towards her goals.
Affordable Housing and Economic Opportunity Economic opportunity and housing have an interesting “chicken and egg” rela- tionship. A stable income is crucial to obtaining affordable housing, but consis- tent access to quality housing often dictates one’s ability to hold down a steady job. Without affordable rents, families are unable to save up to own their own homes, locking them in a perpetual cycle of renting instead of homeownership. Income is the most important determinant of housing affordability. Data shows that no city in America is affordable to individuals who work a minimum wage job. 55 The Center for Housing Policy finds that the salaries and wages of 34 occu- pations in the United States are too low for workers to afford rents. The increasing divergence between business booms and worker earnings, combined with the failure of “trickle-down” economic beliefs, leads to wage stagnation, while costs of living, such as housing costs, continue to climb. 56 Macroeconomic trends of globalization and the decline of blue-collar industry jobs in American cities due to deindustrialization have led to a “spa- tial mismatch” between jobs and affordable houses. 57 Current housing patterns exacerbate inequality by spatially separating affordable housing from economic
Pay for Success & Affordable Housing | Stefano Rumi 21
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