Since 2008, the number of low-income homeowners in the United States increased from 22.9 million for nearly 26 million in 2013. As homes become increasingly rundown due to deferred repairs, communities disintegrate and quality of life is compromised in ways that threaten health, family and the economic wellbeing of cities and towns. The impact on homeowners and their family is particularly severe.
Rebuilding Together, and public agencies are investing considerable resources—financial, technical and direct provision of services—to make homes safer and healthier, more energy efficient, and more accessible for low-income, elderly, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged households. The result of these efforts is the preservation of badly-needed affordable housing opportunities, and the stabilization and revitalization of distressed neighborhoods. Read more from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies study titled “The Role of Nonprofit Organizations and Public Programs in Promoting Rehabilitation and Repair Activity“.
- Affordable Housing
Affordable housing has been an important issue across the Washington region, and the economic troubles of the past few years have made the issue even more urgent and more complicated. Despite the effort of top county and state officials to accommodate its growing immigrant, working-class and elderly populations – Montgomery County struggles to keep pace. A simple yet often overlooked solution for addressing the housing needs of this population is to preserve the affordable housing stock in which these residents currently reside. The current economic climate, though improving, makes it incredibly difficult for many of our county’s most vulnerable residents to maintain or improve their current residences. If unkempt, these homes will deteriorate and their residents will be forced into a tight, unaffordable rental market. RTMC assists our region’s most vulnerable homeowners by keeping them living safely and independently in their homes.
- Aging in Place
By large margins, most Americans say this wish to grow old in their own homes. Seniors should be able to find and retain housing that works for them. Too often, however, homeownership becomes unmanageable, and many seniors transition to assisted-care facilities. Outcomes often are as emotionally fraught as they are economically challenging with relentlessly escalating health-care costs.
- Healthy Housing
High-risk toxins associated with substandard housing range from lead to carbon monoxide, and from mold to disease associated with vermin and insects. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Yet fewer federal dollars and other resources are available for health and housing services.
- Housing for Children
Children from low-income families are more likely to be exposed to lead and mold. Nationwide, more than 1 million low-income households with children under the age of six have significant lead hazards in the home. Excess moisture likewise plagues low-income households, resulting in or exacerbating respiratory ailments and asthma. Unhealthy homes are a leading contributor to chronic illness in children that in turn can cause serious developmental and educational deficits.
At our 2014 National Conference, Rebuilding Together distributed a publication titled, Meeting Tomorrow’s Housing Challenges. This document contains statistical information that supports the work we do across the country and why it is so important. View the document here.