XCHANGE ’18 | Invincible

May 2018 Insight: Invincible resource header

Affordable Housing: A Humanitarian Issue

Now more than ever, it’s critical we all tackle affordable housing in N.C.

One of the most important investments Americans can make is investing in a home. However, due to various potential barriers, homeownership is out of reach for some deserving people and families. Even renting a home or apartment is out of reach for some in the very communities they serve due to high rent rates. Some communities are burdened by extremely high costs of real estate, driving people who work in those communities away from homeownership to live far away or to live in non-traditional living arrangements such as with friends and family.

Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost-burdened, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and may have difficulty affording necessities, such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”  Yet, more than 12 million households pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.

This isn’t a community-level issue; it’s a nationwide pandemic. NC REALTORS® is exploring affordable housing challenges, solutions, opportunities and successes around North Carolina as part of our XCHANGE ’18 storytelling campaign. We interviewed non-profit organizations making a positive difference in local communities, like Family Promise in Cary, North Carolina, which provides transitional housing for up to a year for families. With a commitment to keeping the family unit together, Family Promise is one of the rare organizations that strives to keep families in tact—especially during time of instability, while also educating the parents on managing  money, creating a budget and building a savings account.

We also interviewed families who were able to locate and move into affordable housing properties, those in search of affordable housing and families who are in transitional housing hoping to move into permanent housing, like a charming young family of four who are current residents of Family Promise. The parents, Chris and Jessica, were struggling to provide for their two children with special medical needs. Chris, having his own medical needs, is unable to work to help financially provide for his young family. This unfortunate circumstance puts a certain burden on Jessica to provide for her entire family. When she lost her job some time ago, and they lived two hours away from Cary in a small town, they suddenly found themselves in a desperate situation. They needed housing, she needed a job and they needed help fast. Time was running out.

After calling shelter after shelter, non-profit after nonprofit, none of the solutions worked for them. Their family just couldn’t be split up, which is what nearly every temporary housing provider wanted to provide. Family Promise was the only option for them that kept their family—and their hope—intact.

Today, Jessica and Chris and their children are thriving. Jessica is working. They have a stable home for up to twelve months. They are saving money and resolving some of their financial obstacles, which is positioning them well for independent, permanent housing when they graduate from the Family Promise program. More important, their children are at home—and at peace—for the first time in a long time.  They are settled, they feel safe and they are happy. And that is the ultimate positive outcome of transitional housing programs like Family Promise and ultimately what affordable housing options provide for families like Chris and Jessica.

As part of XCHANGE ‘18’s storytelling campaign leading to Wilmington this September, we also interviewed REALTORS® who are engaged in their own communities and making a positive impact on consumers to help make their dreams of homeownership— and even adequate housing— come to life, such as the REALTOR® Foundation of Wake County. Together with REALTORS® from the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® and the surrounding area, they furnished 12 apartments and helped over 100 families live a better life in 2017.

Together, with the help of decision makers, influencers, government leaders, politicians, builders, REALTORS®, consumers and more, we will work collaboratively and tirelessly to dive into the root of the issues surrounding affordable housing and devise innovative strategies to provide adequate and affordable housing for all North Carolinians. Now more than ever, it’s critical we all tackle this humanitarian issue— affordable housing. It’s important to building communities and families and to keep the American dream of homeownership alive.

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