Affordable Housing: What’s the Big Deal?

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DESPITE THE EFFORTS OF VARIOUS ARMS OF GOVERNMENT as well as an assortment of nonprofit and other groups to enlighten the public about affordable housing (also known as worker class housing, among other terms), some folks think they know what it is. But a municipal meeting we attended shows too many still don’t truly understand it or recognize the importance of its role. Mention it in an open forum, as happened at that meeting, and you may be confronted with mutterings of stereotypical misperceptions that affordable housing is just another name for absentee landlords, rundown tenements and slums.

Naturally, undesirable outcomes are possible. Yet they are possible in virtually any developed district. Should economic reversals, infrastructure deterioration and/or other troublesome conditions arise they are apt to detrimentally transform the value and character of any affected area … be it a commercial or industrial zone, worker class housing or an upscale neighborhood.

For this reason jumping to a conclusion that affordable housing is synonymous with rundown residences would be neither an accurate nor complete picture since many of those projects are attractive and properly maintained. Moreover, in some situations competent professional property management may be able to prevent or reverse the effects of harmful events when they are internal to the affordable facility, and it might be capable of slowing the effects of those that are external to the facility, such as the loss of major regional employers.

So if its not necessarily crumbling housing, what is affordable or worker class housing? While various groups and agencies may have differing spins on the definition, in general we see it as any type of legal and decent housing structure or dwelling that is an affordable option for a household earning no more than eighty percent (80%) of the median income for the area (often called “area median income” or “AMI”). Interestingly, as income disparities seem to widen, some entities appear to be giving more attention to housing opportunities for low income households earning no more than fifty percent (50%) AMI.

To be sure, our definition is likely no big surprise. But what may astonish many is the importance of affordable housing as an influential ingredient in the economic mix of a viable community. Not only does it provide housing opportunities to lower income workers, it also has been shown to encourage economic growth. Furthermore, the possibilities of affordable home purchases aid in the increase of the overall home ownership rate, which can, in turn, provide noteworthy benefits for the community, an often overlooked element in the discourse on home ownership.

The bottom line is affordable housing opportunities, particularly affordable home ownership, help produce stable communities; a belief we have consistently held for properly operated and maintained affordable home projects. And from our viewpoint, that is a big deal.


Need consulting, coaching or problem troubleshooting regarding this or other single-family or multi-family housing issues? We’ll be pleased to help you. Visit us at the Inhouse Corporation website or contact us at


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2 Responses to “Affordable Housing: What’s the Big Deal?”

  1. Real Estate: A Renter’s Market? | Inhouse Corporation Insights Says:

    […] Whatever actual perceptions or rationale exist in the market, we see housing moving with renters, not buyers. Although rentals certainly have a legitimate place in the housing arena, the need for the permanence of home ownership should not be taken lightly or shrugged off. Beyond financial considerations, home ownership has been shown to provide positive benefits for household members, a stakeholder interes… […]

  2. Dr. Rashmi Patel Says:

    Dr. Rashmi Patel

    Affordable Housing: What’s the Big Deal? | Inhouse Corporation Insights

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