Living in a quality and affordable home is essential in the physical, mental, economical, and developmental wellbeing of each household member. But with the prices on residential real estate continuing to increase and surpass the average wage in the United States, we’re starting to see many families struggle in various facets of their lives.
In fact, most of us have to decide between sacrificing one basic need to fulfill the other. Paying for rent or housing costs often means that we need to cut ourselves short on nutrition, transportation, healthcare, or education.
But what about low-income families that have to give up half of their wages just to keep their loved ones sheltered?
Lack of Affordable Housing and Low-Income Families
Although the lack of affordable housing affects all of us, households that are struggling to make ends meet are impacted even worse.
Parents of low-income families have to take on two or more jobs just to have money to accommodate their cost of living. Not only does this add a lot of stress to their family members but it also results in the primary role models for kids being largely absent in their lives.
A lack of parental presence at home leads to children who need to fend for themselves – often at the mercy of their present neighborhood. Who will be there to guide these kids into living a positive lives and achieving their dreams?
On the other hand, the mental and physical health of the parents who have to work overtime is at risk as well. They have to sacrifice their wellbeing to get by, and it can lead to problems such as depression, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
Low-income families that are burdened with oppressive housing expenses won’t have the capacity to afford preventative healthcare. Add to this the stress that comes with poor living conditions and dealing with high rent and you end up with families that are not only diminished financially but also physically and mentally.
Children Are Affected the Most by a Lack of Affordable Housing
As you may already have guessed, our children are the ones who are affected most when there’s a lack of affordable housing.
According to a report, families that are constantly burdened by housing costs have children who experience poorer health outcomes, lower levels of engagement in school, and have emotional health issues. The same report also found that children affected by housing instability perform worse academically, particularly in math and reading.
Such information shows that having stable housing plays a critical role in the growth and development of a child. It also reveals that the education of these youth is also affected by a lack of affordable housing solutions.
When families can pay for decent housing, they often can provide for the needs of their households. This means that they can afford to purchase the necessary furnishings to make their homes not only livable but presentable as well.
I had a phase when I was a child where I used to be embarrassed when my friends would drop by our house. Once my parents started earning better, we moved to a new home where I’d be more open to inviting people over simply because our residence looks better than our old one.
Why Is Affordable Housing So Hard to Achieve?
Places in the United States that are in demand have land that costs a premium to live on. This is especially true in locations where there are many jobs. Then you also have to consider the costs associated with the materials and labor needed to build homes, and the expenses can quickly rack up.
That’s why for those low-income homes, it’s simply not realistic to pay for the cost of building these structures without having to rely on a subsidy. Families within this category have minimal salaries that any form of rent will be too much for them.
Creating affordable housing isn’t the only problem but also the means to preserve its state. Although the government provides subsidies, many of them will have a limitation, allowing owners to sell their houses according to the going rate as soon as these subsidy programs expire.
Low-income families are truly the ones who suffer the most when there’s a lack of affordable housing. Some of us may not be feeling the effects of it now but we will all be more aware of this problem’s existence in the coming years.
As always, it’s the job of the federal government to take care of this issue if they want to get rid of it. Getting rid of the single-family zoning, encouraging second housing units in single-family lots, and other similar beneficial programs could be the keys to ending the current housing dilemma.