Affordable Housing Month 2024

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The month of May is Affordable Housing Month. Rural Resurrection continues to look at ways to help communities to provide safe, decent, affordable housing.

For quite a while the abundance of affordable housing has been a marketing point for most rural communities. However, the affordability of housing is quickly becoming an issue for even smaller rural communities. That’s why Affordable Housing Month is increasingly important in rural communities throughout the United States.

The federal government defines housing as “affordable” when it consumes no more than 30% of the resident’s household income. Only when costs are below the 30% threshold can households comfortably pay their monthly housing costs while still having money left over for other necessities, like food and transportation.

A few weeks ago, a travel influencer demonstrated how it can actually be cheaper to live full-time at an all-inclusive resort than rent an apartment on top of everyday living expenses in many major cities. Thankfully the situation isn’t as bad in rural communities, but affordability is still an issue. Between the housing costs and the lower salaries in rural areas there is still a sizeable gap to overcome when it comes to affordability.

Past Posts on Housing

Main Street’s Housing Guidebook for Local Leaders

The Main Street’s Housing Guidebook for Local Leaders is a veritable treasure trove of information about housing. Throughout this housing guidebook there are examples of how communities have successfully made downtown housing work.

Whether it’s the information gathered from the guidebook or further discussions with one of the communities in the spotlight, it should be fruitful for your own community.

AARP Helping with Missing Middle Housing

Missing Middle Housing is a hot topic right now as the lack of affordable housing is especially problematic issue across the United States. AARP has jumped on the subject of Missing Middle Housing as well. To help communities in need of more housing types, AARP has developed two new informational booklets on the topic.

Inmates Helping to Meet Affordable Housing Demand

The Newton Correctional Facility in Newton, Iowa, is helping out in its own way. They are participating in a new program called Homes for Iowa. Administered by Iowa’s Prison Industries, Homes for Iowa is working to help the affordable housing issue in their own way.

Under the program, inmates are paid $1 an hour to help build affordable homes. The low wage paid to inmates lowers the overhead costs of producing housing. The houses constructed are then sold at an affordable price.

Know Your Housing Market and its Advantages

Author, Speaker, Strong Towns creator Charles Marhon pnce wrote a post entitled: “Buying a house? Here’s why you should consider a small town.” He dives into the numbers of the current housing market and how we are in the midst of another “housing bubble”. Marohn provides a convincing numerical argument as to why people should buy rural.

This Strong Towns article is a good analysis as to why purchasing a house in a rural community makes monetary sense. You should know these numbers yourself. But not just the numbers in Marohn’s article. It’s more important to know the numbers in relation to your own community.

Craftsman Bungalow

Solberg Bungalow

Funding is Available

The National Housing Conference has a page on its website specifically dedicated to federal rural housing programs. It is mainly a set of links to USDA Rural Development programs, but it is a good list that includes rental and homeownership programs.

Don’t Stop

Housing affordability is always been an issue, but it will only get worse without significant, regular attention and proactive actions. Use Housing Affordability Month to draw attention to the issue and start the conversation.