The Affordable Housing Cause

What is “affordable housing”?

A home is affordable if payments plus taxes and basic utilities does not exceed 30% of a household’s gross income.*

Unfortunately, far too many people in the United States do not have the financial means to rent or own an affordable, durable home.

It’s especially difficult for Extremely Low-Income (ELI) individuals and families.** The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that 10.3 million individuals and families, or 1 out of 4 rental households in the U.S., fall into this category. Many of these people spend over 50% of their incomes on housing, meaning they have few funds left over for basic nutritional, medical, and educational needs.

People are not earning enough to keep pace with rising costs of living. The federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 since 2009. To afford the national fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment ($806/month), an individual would need to work 86 hours at minimum wage.

Many families are relegated to homes that are inexpensive but considered physically inadequate. These may lack hot water, electricity, or plumbing. It includes units with structural deficiencies, like unsafe stairs or surfaces, handicap inaccessibility, poor insulation, and damaged roofs. Often, these homes also suffer from overcrowding, where the number of people living in the house is greater than the total number of rooms in the house. This impacts millions of homes, among both renters and homeowners.

* Definition provided by US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
** A household is considered ELI if their income is at or below 30% of the median income in their area.

So, what can we do about this crisis?

First, Research

These organizations have a wealth of resources that go in-depth on the housing issues facing low-income Americans.

HUD    NLIHC    Rural

Center for Housing PolicyHarvard    HousingPolicy.org

Volunteer

Find out what is going on your community. Organizations are always eager for volunteer help. Bike & Build has volunteered with and granted to over 900 affordable housing organizations in our history. Email us at info@bikeandbuild.org to find out who you can connect with in your area.

 

Riders: Study the Affordable Housing Curriculum

Every Bike & Build rider participates in a curriculum designed to inform not only our riders, but also the community members that our riders meet during the summer. Pre-trip, riders will read about and discuss in small groups the various issues surrounding the cause (e.g. public housing, sustainability, socioeconomic influences). They’ll also meet with an individual in their community impacted by the crisis. During the trip, each rider will share what they’ve learned from those conversations, both with their fellow B&B teammates and with the community members they meet on the road.

 

Apply for Funding

Work for an affordable housing organization, or know one in your area that could use some financial support? Click below.

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