For affordable housing professionals, the benefits of affordable housing to local communities are clear. The economic benefits alone are enough for most to understand that communities benefit from affordable housing developments in a substantial way. Unfortunately, educating members of the community has proven to be an uphill battle as we attempt to unravel long-standing, unsubstantiated claims to the contrary based on nothing more than fear and misinformation that has been swirling for decades.
In a recent Forbes.com article, author Richard Burns aptly outlines the benefits for both investors and the community, stating, “in the pantheon of misconceptions about affordable housing (and there are many — that it attracts less desirable residents, is inherently built of lesser quality and will drag down a neighborhood), there is the myth that a community with affordable housing couldn’t possibly be good for business. I am here to tell you that is wrong. Modern affordable housing attract a wide, diverse range of residents and is built of quality that matches or sometimes exceeds that of market-rate housing. Not only that, but affordable housing can be a much-needed boon to local, neighborhood businesses and larger companies alike. The entire affordable housing real estate ecosystem — developers and builders, architects, property managers, and those in law and finance — stands to benefit from creating and preserving this stable asset class. Why? Affordable housing stays rented; most properties have waiting lists. And the rents are more reliably paid, often through a voucher system that ensures it. Unlike luxury properties with occupancy rates that fluctuate with the economy, affordable housing rentals remain steady.”
Burns goes on to outline the specific ways communities benefit from affordable housing such as increased spending power, increased hiring by local businesses, and increased taxes and other revenue for local governments. What he doesn’t include are other benefits for which TAAHP has pointed out in recent months, such as benefits to students through the opportunity for a more stable living situation, the ability to maintain long-term relationships with teachers and peers because they don’t have to move around in search of affordable rents, improved health outcomes with more access to healthcare and so much more.”