With the August Jobs Report cited as the "worst month for job gains" of the year, The NHP Foundation, a non-profit provider of service-enriched affordable housing, polled 1000 Americans to gauge their feelings about housing and job security.
The survey results showed that 75 percent of those polled are concerned about losing housing. The report states that when asked how concerned those polled were that they or a friend or relative could lose housing, 30 percent said that they consider themselves “very concerned”, 27 percent stated that they were “concerned”, and 19 percent stated that they were “somewhat concerned.” Additionally, 83 percent of respondents said they were concerned about housing costs in the U.S. overall.
Affordable housing is housing for which occupants pay no more than 30 percent of their income and those who spend more than that on rent or a mortgage are considered cost-burdened. The report states that over 65 percent of Americans put themselves in this category.
NHP Foundation reports that 80 percent polled said that they welcome more affordable housing in their communities. It was also cited that nearly 40 percent of those polled welcome affordable housing because they say “everyone deserves” it. Another 25 percent reason that they welcome affordable housing because they believe there should be an opportunity for “people to live in the community where they work.”
The survey shows that nearly 20 percent state that affordable housing lets a wider range of individuals share a community, and 16 percent of those surveyed acknowledge affordable housing’s ability to revitalize neighborhoods.
The survey did show that 20 percent of those polled were unlikely to welcome affordable housing in their neighborhoods. The NHP Foundation President and CEO Dick Burns attributes this to “an outdated concept of affordable housing.”
“Today’s affordable housing is comprised of new and upgraded garden apartments and high-rises; amenity-laden developments that look nothing like ‘projects’ of the past,” says Burns.
The survey also shows that nearly 40 percent of respondents fear job loss will lead to loss of housing. Those polled shared what they felt could lead to a loss of housing additionally. Perceived lack of affordable options carried 28 percent of those who were survey, increased rents had 24 percent of those polled, and retirement had an additional 21 percent.
“Job loss is the top concern to those who fear losing their housing; the two go hand-in-hand,” added Burns.
Despite these fears, Burns says that, “It all starts with housing. Without the underpinning of a secure place to live, it’s nearly impossible for an individual or head of household to find and keep a job and provide for themselves and their loved ones.”
Because of these sentiments, The NHP Foundation is looking to increase its construction and preservation of affordable housing units substantially this year.