Housing is a basic human need. Housing means safety, security, and stability. Housing provides a place of protection from rain and snow. It is a place where we can sleep and eat and ponder the mysteries of the universe. It is a place for creating memories and planning our future.
Housing is essential for our well being as human beings. But housing is not guaranteed. There are a number of barriers for those seeking housing – primarily affordability. Housing is expensive.
Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.
An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing.
A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) 1.7 million people with a serious mental illness receive SSI (Social Security Income). SSI provides financial assistance to people with long term disabilities. The most recent studies conducted in 2016 show that the United States did not have a single housing market where someone living on SSI income alone could afford a safe, decent rental. Not one in the entire United States.
And that includes our own community, right here in the Tri-Cities.
Special thanks to Grant-Williams Mediation for donating funds for refreshments from Righteous BBQ!
Another excellent Inspire! event with a huge shout out to our panelists Ryan Kilpatrick, Rhonda Kleyn, Jessica R-Garza, Liz Keegan, Beth Hanis and Josh Brugger. What can YOU do about unmet housing needs in our community?
Here are a few suggestions:
Attend municipality and community meetings and make your voice heard, let leaders know this matters to YOU
Help leaders adopt a long term view, link housing costs to people costs
Tie social justice to economic development
Advocate for others, talk to family, friends, and neighbors
Fight NIMBY while promoting being a welcoming community Educate others that research shows property values DON'T go down
Support the organizations that are working in this space
Support Those Without Housing Today:
Support agencies working in this area - donate your time and your money
Give to nonprofits so that they can pay better wages and keep talent here
Make sure conversations about housing include discussion of wages and income, especially when employers say they can't find people to fill their jobs
Listen - be ears in the community and use what we heard to inform, refer and advise and then report problems and needs
Visit community kitchens and meal sites and talk to people
Challenge our own assumptions and be welcoming of diversity
Examine our own resources and options for sharing
Don't Give Up/Be Persistent
Contact us if you need help figuring out what YOU can do. Because we can all do something to make this a healthier community for everyone.