Best practices in affordable housing | My Paper Hub
housing can be used to refer to a wide...
housing can be used to refer to a wide spectrum of housing variations such as:
homeless shelters, houses that have been subsidized to house people with
special needs, and transition houses. Affordable housing also refers to housing
arrangements that middle and low-income homilies can be able to comfortable
rent or purchase. Housing is among families’ largest expenditures. For low
income families, spending on housing may become a major financial burden
especially when they have to balance between travel costs and housing. As such,
there is need to come up with more affordable housing plans that will cater for
every category of the population. housing should not be a troubling issue in
todays’ world especially given the technological improvements that can be
incorporated into the building of houses so that the cost of renting these
houses or selling them is reduced hence making it easy for everyone to
afford a house. This paper discusses the
various trends and best practices that should be looked into in order to make
housing more affordable.
understanding what affordable housing is, it is important to first understand
the concept of affordability. Affordability refers to the ability of families
to make purchases that maximize their savings in maters housing and
transportation. When families are able to save the amount of money they use in
paying for these two expenditure, they are able to save more hence making money
available for use on expenses such as healthcare, food, and education. In as
much as every family wants to save money, not every family is able to take
advantage of every money saving opportunity that presents itself to them. Some
families, wanting to “live up” may choose to live in more expensive homes and
go for more expensive modes of transportation hence making it hard for them to
afford other basic necessities such as healthcare and education. The ability to
save money consequently increases a persons’ economic security and also
and transportation often go hand in hand. This is because even if a person
manages to live in an affordable house but the house is located such that the
costs of transportation to other areas are high, the living arrangement can’t
be said to be truly affordable.in the evaluation of affordable housing
policies, it is important to consider the fact that different households have
diverse demands. For instance, some households will require houses that have
larger spaces that can be converted to studios or workshops, some may want
houses that are specially equipped to cater for the needs of people living with
disabilities while others will want to live in houses with varying garage sizes
to accommodate their vehicles.
has the right to a housing that is decent, safe and stable. People with
different mental conditions such as depression and those struggling with
chronic illnesses and traumas require homes to enable them easily chart the
road towards recovery. Having a stable housing arrangements presents such
people with a picture of stability that is essential in making recovery easier
(Dohler, Bailey, Rice & Katch, par. 1). Supportive housing is helpful in
giving the much needed stability for such people.
Affordable housing in the
of affordable housing is therefore essential in boosting the economic growth as
well as improving peoples’ living conditions. As such, many nations have
undertaken plans to ensure their citizens have access to affordable housing. In
the United States, efforts have been made to make housing affordable by
provision of financial assistance to home owners through the implementation of
mortgage interest deduction. Low income families are also catered for through
subsidizing of housing programs. In 2005, the tax reductions amounted to $120
which is an 80% representation of federal financial aid on housing.
federal governments’ aid for low income families can be categorized into three
namely: tenant based, project based and public housing. Project based subsidies
are provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) and the USDA Rural Development organizations. Tenant based programs, also
referred to as section 8 programs also fall into the project based subsidies.
The tenant based subsidies are given to individual households often in the form
of rent reduction, project based subsidies are given to homeowners on the
condition that these houses will be rented out at rates that can be afforded by
low income families whereas public housing are often owned and managed by
government agencies and offer housing to people with special needs, often
homeless people. However, the two: HUD and USDA Rural Development have not been
able to constantly provide affordable housing since 1986. The low income housing
tax credit program has been the main assistance offered to low income families
since 1986 and as much as it has helped families live comfortably, it is
important to note that it is not providing the same levels of affordability as
was provided by HUD and USDA Rural Development programs.
and state governments in the United States have been on the forefront of
fighting for affordable housing with some providing programs such as supportive
housing, transition houses and rent subsidies for tenants. One of the cities in
the US that suffers a serious housing shortage is New York. Given the city’s’
attractiveness and desirability as a place to live and work, the city attracts
residents in the thousands each year. This influx of residents into the city has
resulted in an acute shortage of adequate housing to cater for the ever growing
demand. Thus, finding affordable housing has become a very hectic endeavor for
low and moderate income families as well as for median income families in some
extreme situations (Milstein, par.1). It is reported that the income rates have
been stagnating for people living in New York while the cost of rent has
seemingly doubled (Institute for affordable housing, pg. 4). Despite the city
taking considerable efforts that have resulted in the existence if more housing
in New York than at any previous time, there is still a major shortage of
housing which is a matter that needs prompt addressing (Milstein, par. 3)
Affordable housing in
Australia, the matter of affordable housing is also being sought. This is done
by the provision of rent subsidies to tenants who rent their houses directly
from a private landlord. The subsidy is paid to the tenant. In addition, Centralink, which is the organization
charged with ensuring affordable housing for all Australians, offers other
subsidies such as Age and disability pensions. The amount of subsidy given is
calculated based on the amount of rent payable to the landlord as well as the
number of dependents the tenant cares for if any.
living in public housing arrangements in Australia do not qualify for rent
assistance. People seeking to buy their own homes only qualify for the first
home owner grant only if they are making the purchase for the first time. The
grant provides the home buyer with an A$7000 to help alleviate the cost of
purchasing a house. The Australian government also has a first home saver accounts, which is a program that whereby people
who are saving up to buy a home may be given contributions by the government.
These contributions are sent directly to the savings accounts (Australian
Taxation Office, pp. 10).
Western Australia, the department of affordable housing set a goal of
delivering a minimum of 20,000 more affordable houses for low and low and moderate
income families by the year 2020 through a program they referred to as the Opening Doors Scheme. The program offers
people the opportunity to own homes using two programs: the shared home
ownership and the affordable house sales programs. Shared home ownership allows
people to purchase their homes through a partnership with department of housing
and attaining a loan from the government’s lender Keystart. The department keeps 30% of the property purchased. This
share is dependent on a persons’ capacity to borrow, the location of the
property, the size of the buyers’ household as well as the property’s size.
After the purchase, the person can decide to buy back the department’s share or
even sell the entire property to the department.
house sales is provided by to the public by the Department of Housing.by
working closely with the real estate industry, the department makes available
property that can be purchased by anyone who is interested in being a
homeowner. The department works to ensure that the properties that are under
development are affordable and can be purchased by moderate to low income
preliminary investigation into the various affordable housing strategies and
trends, I have developed the following hypothesis:
are some of the best practices when it comes to trends in affordable housing?
Some of the best practices in affordable housing trends include location,
environment, expenses and family needs.
all research requires the collection of new data. Sometimes researchers use existing data
sources, such as research and data collected by others. Data most widely used by researchers is
gathered by government agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau, State Agencies
and local units of governments. For purposes of this preliminary research
assignment, an extensive review of the existing literature was conducted using
academic journals. This approach saves
time and money and was endorsed in class.
Based on research findings, others may wish to extend my work by using
some of the other research methods commonly used by social scientists such as
surveys and interviews.
to Wright (pp.69), affordable housing has been a quest by the America people with
the housing market following up on innovations and reforms that held the
promise of providing housing that was less expensive and of better quality to
American citizens. The promises sometimes turned out to be political stunts
pulled to gain popularity in the eyes of the public and in other cases, they
were merely market ploys to raise the interest of buyers (pp.69). The first
public housing project was developed in America during the great
depression. Wright further states that
affordable housing should also pay attention to design. Prefabrication has
played a major part in the provision of affordable housing to residents. This
is according to wright (pp.74) who states that the factory production of
building materials has been highly regarded by Americans who continue to hold
on to a hope that the effort to standardize and rationalize will be helpful in
the provision of houses just like it has contributed to an easy production of
also observes that housing design is essential in increasing the house’s
profitability and attractiveness in the market. This, she opines is true
following two popular magazines: Arts and
Architecture which is based in south California and House and Home which advised their readers to borrow from the
techniques of other high profile architects and building planners such as Frank
Lloyd Wright who lobbied for moderate cost housing. The magazines further
warned their readers to avoid the standards that were set by the Federal
Housing Administration (FHA) governing the design and livability of houses. The
magazines termed these standards as being “narrow” (pg.74).
planning is also important in the achievement of good and affordable housing
(Wright, pp. 76).given that housing is often seen as a part of a broader category
such as geographical and social settings, the planning involved into creation
of designs is important. How a housing community is designed plays a major role
in the determination of the economic activities that take place around the
community such as the building of malls and retail spaces hence helping in the
strengthening of the economy (Wright, pp.77). Such developments, despite the
federal governments’ restriction on the amount of space that can be used on
non-residential projects, continue to grow and are seen as good economic
endeavors by those whom they serve.
creation of affordable housing should also take into consideration the
preservation of the local communities’ culture as well as incorporating
environments that promote good mental health (Childers & Morrows, pp.11).
As seen in Chicago’s Chinatown, preservation of historic cultures of the
surrounding communities has been given the highest level of consideration. This
is made evident by taking into account a Community Development Corporation’s
(CDC) opting to hire architects who renovated the historic town taking into
consideration the history the town held (Wright, pp.78). The designing of the
houses promoted the inhabitants’ culture hence attracting more people to live
in the settings. Preservation of existing houses has led to the creation of
organizations such as the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), which is a
nonprofit organization that works towards the preservation of affordable rental
housing with the aim of creating an environment that is stable and economically
secure to households that fall under the low to medium income categories.
Preservation of housing can also be seen by the city of Ashville buying a grand
hotel and, with the aid of subsidies provided for section 8 projects, remodeled
the hotel into low income housing for the elderly people (Childers &
Mental health is also a primary concern when
it comes to provision of affordable housing. Local support systems are said to
be effective in the reduction of days people stay in hospitals. This is
especially true if the medical facilities are situated around housing projects
(Wright, pp.78). However, it is important that the facilities are made easily
accessible to locals while ensuring they are also discrete- they should not be
seen to be labelling people with regards to the challenges they face. The
importance of incorporating health facilities is also seen when developers in
New York were told by prospective residents that they would love to live in a
place that provided a healthy environment. This suggestion led to the building
of a fitness and a medical centers as well as a good ventilation that
discouraged the need for air conditioning and stairways that let in natural
sunshine and clean natural air (Wright, pp.78).
other trends in affordable housing are trust funds, permanent affordability,
inclusionary zoning, preservation and rezoning. Housing trust funds refer to
funds that are specifically set aside for the development and preservation of housing
(Childers & Morrow, pp.3). The funds often receive public contribution and
are directed towards ensuring everyone has a chance at becoming a home owner.
In Ashville, housing trust funds have been widely adopted and implemented to
help residents access affordable housing. The program, as of 2015, was
successful in building 856 housing units for rent and another 134 for sale
since its creation in 2008. The fund, aside from building affordable units,
also helps the residents by providing loans that are repayable at low interest
for purposes of buying houses.
zoning, which refers to a requirement by the government for developers to set
aside some units in the areas they develop towards affordable housing (Childers
& Morrow, pp. 4). It is also the developer’s responsibility to maintain the
houses’ affordability. Where the developer does not want to do this, they can
pay a fee “in lieu”. Inclusive zoning aims at the creation of mixed
neighborhoods where people from different income categories can comfortably
live in the same environment. Since inclusive zoning is not mandatory
everywhere, state governments in where it is not a mandatory requirement have
been known to offer developers with incentives that help in convincing them to
take part in this type of housing trend (Childers and Morrows, pp.4). In Texas,
the city has provided a developers with fee waivers and an expedited review
process for clearance to implement inclusive zoning into their development
projects. Such incentives have helped popularize inclusive zoning.
& Morrow also discuss permanent affordability as a trend towards affordable
housing (pp.7). permanent affordability refers to housing that are created by
non-profit organizations or public housing entities which adhere to legal
mechanisms which ensure the houses built remain affordable in the long-term.
The houses build under this program are sold to eligible buyers at prices that
are under the market value. Legal provisions surrounding the building and
selling of these units place restrictions on resale prices making them
affordable on a permanent basis (Childers & Morrows, pp7). The other means
towards acquisition of affordable housing is through the use of Community Land
Trusts (CLT). CLTs are nonprofits which are charged with the responsibility of
acquiring, holding and developing land for the benefit of the communities they
serve. CLTs are supported by local governments in terms of allowing them some
level of free reign in terms of their operations. They also often receive
financial support in terms of startup funds from organizations and foundations
(Childers & Morrows, pp.7)
Following the information gathered during this
research, I believe it is safe to conclude that the research question, “What are some of the affordable practices
when it comes to affordable housing” has been accepted. The research
yielded insight into many trends in affordable housing trends that are being
undertaken by both state and federal governments. It appears that the commonly
used trend for affordable housing is provision of subsidies. These subsidies
are often directed towards the reduction of building construction costs and
consequently, the reduction of rent and mortgage prices for tenants and buyers
conclusion, the steps that are being taken towards the achievement of
affordable housing are not only impressive but they are also bearing results.
Taking measure to provide housing that can be afforded by everyone regardless
of their income brackets is helpful as it helps in the reduction of the number
of homeless people. The labor processes invested in the building of these
housing units also helps in the building of the economy as it creates
employment opportunities for the people who will work as construction crew and
food vendors. Once they are completed, they also boost the economic conditions
due to a growing need for the provision of services to the residents in these
units. Therefore, creation of affordable housing helps reduce homelessness
while at the same time boosting the general economic conditions.
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