There are many reasons why people need affordable housing, especially in this day and age. Never before has the housing crisis across America been such a political talking point and human rights issue.
All around the nation, nearly 75% of the people renting apartments or houses say it’s because they cannot afford to purchase one. Millions of Americans now spend over half of their paychecks on rent when the standard used to be a quarter of their monthly earnings. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) recently polled data from every state in order to determine the lowest salary needed for a 40-hour workweek in order to be able to maintain affordable and sustainable housing, meaning a two-bedroom rental property. In every single case, the person would have to be earning higher than the highest minimum wage in the country, which is $14.00/hour in Washington, DC. When a problem of this magnitude reaches a 100% failure rate, it is beyond a crisis.
All humans need to have their basic human needs met before they can begin living an effective life. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs demonstrates that humans require five levels of needs to be met and each one builds on the one before. At our very core, people need to have their biological needs met. This includes air, water, food, sleep, clothing, and shelter. If these primal, organic, essential needs are not fulfilled, a person cannot excel to the next level which includes sustaining gainful employment, good health, and personal security. Once these are achieved, a person can then begin to connect with his/her community and to form social connections. This, in turn, leads to advancing their self-esteem and an ability to self-actualize, ultimately making someone feel independent, happy, and free.
But there is an issue when it starts with stagnation. There is an order in which things need to occur so that a person can improve his/her life. Success breeds success, but the opposite can also be true. It isn’t enough to have the desire to succeed in life. A person also needs a reliable support system. Some would argue that taxes we pay to our government should enable people to have certain inalienable rights such as food and shelter.
In addition, when housing is improved, everyone benefits by lifting up other citizens in their community. Public safety is one of the areas that everyone can agree is a main issue of concern. There is a direct correlation between the rate of crime and the rate of homelessness, so having more people in affordable housing has a ripple effect that can benefit many by creating safer spaces.