I recently joined hundreds of Habitat representatives throughout the United States in Washington, DC to advocate for resources for affordable home production. Our three day conference included visits to offices of Senators Chris Van Hollen and Benjamin Cardin, as well as, Representatives Jamie Raskin, Anthony Brown, and David Throne.
Communities in our region are facing shortages of safe, decent and affordable homes. More than 19 million US households spend more than 50% of their income on housing, 30% is considered affordable. Federal housing programs provide crucial resources to help local housing providers meet these challenges. For example, the HOME program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), helps providers build, repair or rehabilitate affordable owner-occupied or rental housing, while also supporting other housing activities. HUD’s Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), helps nonprofit organizations that use the self-help model acquire land, purchase foreclosed or abandoned properties, and develop the infrastructure needed to build affordable homes for first-time, lower-income homeowners. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Section 502 Direct program provides fixed-rate, low-interest loans to help low- and very-low income families purchase or rehabilitate homes in rural areas.
While crucial, federal investments in affordable housing are failing to keep up with local needs. To supplement static or declining federal housing resources, local and state organizations are engaging in broad advocacy initiatives to persuade local and state governments to raise significant new housing resources of their own. These local and state funds are being used for a wide range of housing activities, tailored to local priorities. Click here to learn more about how you can get involved.