The 204th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina created a Bishop’s Committee on Affordable Housing. The Committee recently produced a guidebook to showcase successful housing programs in the Diocese and to suggest ways for all to get involved.
A clear crisis exists in affordable housing. North Carolina has a shortage of 200,000 apartments with rents that are affordable for extremely low-income families, who now pay a major portion of their income for rent. Even more tragically, there are more than 9,300 people experiencing homelessness. Housing costs are rising much faster than incomes.
The Bishop’s Committee believes it’s critically important for everyone, and in particular people of faith, to be informed and to know affordable housing is a vital part of infrastructure, every bit as much as roads and bridges. Without access to affordable housing, investments in transportation and infrastructure will fall short of creating vibrant communities. People will continue to live in cars and on the streets.
Research shows the shortage of safe, decent and affordable housing costs the American economy about $2 trillion per year in lower wages and productivity. The lack of affordable housing prevents lower-income households from moving to communities with better economic opportunities and makes it difficult for businesses to attract and retain the workers they need.
Like roads and bridges, affordable housing is a long-term asset that enables communities and families to thrive. Increasing the supply of affordable housing—connecting people to good schools, well-paying jobs, healthcare and transportation—will help more families climb the economic ladder and allow communities to meet their workforce needs.
Soon, Congress and the public will debate a proposed $2 trillion infrastructure bill called “The American Jobs Plan." The bill includes funding for the creation or preservation of 1.5 million affordable homes and apartments.
Each dollar invested in affordable housing infrastructure boosts local economies by leveraging public and private resources to lift resident earnings and local tax revenue, as well as to support job creation and retention. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders estimates that building 100 affordable rental homes generates $11.7 million in local income, $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 161 local jobs in the first year.
For more information, go to www.whitehouse.gov and click on ”The American Jobs Plan."
If you agree that affordable housing is important, please email or call your members of Congress—both House and Senate—though www.Congress.gov and let them know.
For more information about housing ministries in the Diocese, read the recent Disciple article, "A Safe and Dignified Home for All God's Children," or contact the Bishop’s Committee on Affordable Housing at [email protected]