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Why We Build

Safe, affordable housing is out of reach for far too many people around the South Hampton Roads


Every day, more families find themselves in a struggle to keep a decent roof over their heads. Caught in punishing cycles of unpredictable rent increases, overcrowded conditions, or lack of access to land and affordable financing, these families live with a constant burden of stress and fear.

Helping families leave that cycle behind is why we build. When a family can create a decent place to live that’s affordable, everything can change – and so much change is so desperately needed.

A housing affordability crisis in the U.S.

Nearly 13 percent of Americans live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A family of four with an annual income of less than $24,858 is considered to be living below the poverty line.

One in five children in the U.S. lives in a family who resides in extremely poor conditions, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. The homeownership rate for all ages reached a 50-year low in 2016, according to the Census Bureau, as rising property prices, high rents and stagnant pay put buying out of reach for many.

A worker earning the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 needs to work 122 hours a week for 52 weeks — or more than three full-time jobs — to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home and 99 hours per week — or about two and a half full-time jobs — to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, according to The National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The difference a decent and affordable place to live can make

There is a strong correlation between improved housing and poverty reduction, according to the United Nations. The house and neighborhood where one grows up has been shown to impact health and longevity.

Safe and stable housing, says the Foundation for Child Development, is essential to the healthy growth of children. Better neighborhoods, says Economic Policy Review, are associated with better outcomes for homeowner children.

Affordable housing enables people to pay for other basic needs such as utilities, food and medical care. Center for Housing Policy research shows that a supportive and stable home environment can complement the efforts of educators, leading to better student achievement.

Children of homeowners are 25 percent more likely to graduate from high school and 116 percent more likely to graduate from college compared with families who do not own their homes, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies.



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