Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity has joined Habitat organizations across the country to launch a new campaign aimed at improving home affordability for more than 10 million people across the United States in the next five years.
According to the organization, nearly 19 million households across the United States are spending at least half of their income on a place to live, often forgoing basic necessities such as food and health care to make ends meet. Those with the fewest resources are forced to make the hardest choices.
In El Paso County, more 75,000 people live below the poverty line. The median price of a home in El Paso County is $310,000 and median rent is $1,335 per month. Affordable rental units are scarce, with vacancies at 3 percent for units with monthly rents of $750 or less.
While homeownership costs and rents are skyrocketing, wages are not keeping pace. That puts stable housing out of reach for many people.
On June 12, Habitat launched the Cost of Home campaign, which seeks to identify and improve policies and systems affecting home affordability through coordinated advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels.
The factors related to creating more affordable homes — supply, credit, land and communities of opportunity — are interconnected, and policies that address affordability challenges can and often do impact multiple elements.
To address those factors, Habitat has created a policy platform that focuses on improving housing affordability across the housing continuum in four specific policy areas:
- Increasing supply and preservation of affordable homes
- Equitably increasing access to credit
- Optimizing land use for affordable homes
- Ensuring access to and development of communities of opportunity
Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity already has taken several steps toward these goals and is participating in Colorado’s Statewide Legislative Build Day on June 27. The organization is inviting local government officials and community leaders to come together to impact El Paso County families by building strength, stability, and self-reliance.
“To build a strong sustainable community, we need to be aware of the needs of those around us and how those needs directly and indirectly impacts the quality of our lives as well as our community,” Executive Director Kris Medina said.
“Affordable housing impacts each and every one of us, and Habitat’s Cost of Home is helping inform all of us that meeting the need for affordable housing has many solutions and positive outcomes,” she said. “We can all be a part of that solution if we understand the issue.”
For more information Habitat’s Cost of Home policy platform and campaign activation, visit habitat.org/costofhome.