University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Is Affordable Housing Attainable?

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March 2019

Miranda J. Pearson

Abstract

Growing up people often spend time dreaming of their perfect home, in hopes that one day if they work hard enough and put enough money aside, that their dream will become a reality. A perfect home where one can raise their children and grow old in, one where they can share special moments and create lasting memories in, but today, for many American’s that dream is slipping further away from reality. Now, fast forward to adulthood and imagine working a full-time job at minimum wage and having to pay over half of one’s paycheck for a place that should barely be called a home. Think about what it is like to have to make certain trade-offs such as paying rent or buying groceries and medication. How would you decide what was more important?

Being a homeowner is more than just owning a house, it is a stepping stone for success and it is critical to someone’s health and opportunity (Cassidy, 2018). To some people they assume that by creating more affordable housing it will attract crime and decrease their sense of safety. Affordable housing is more than housing criminals, it is housing your grandmother who cannot stay in her large home any longer. It is housing for your son or daughter who just graduated college and is burdened with student loan debit. It is for your co-worker who finally had the courage to leave their abusive relationship and start over for themselves and their children. But how do we provide more affordable housing in Michigan? To tackle this rising crisis, we are going to need all hands-on deck to make sure that our American families have an affordable and quality place to lay their heads at the end of the day. In the pages to come, we will look at the history of affordable housing and how the past housing policies have influenced what we have today. We will address the impacts that families in Michigan are feeling due to the lack of affordable housing and the rising number of individuals on a fixed income. We will explore what is being done at the State and Federal level and how those policies change what our local government and municipalities are doing. Lastly, we will look at recommendations to promote better access to affordable housing, the three recommendations that I plan to explore are increasing the funding for housing voucher for programs like Section 8, decreasing the amount of mandates and regulations for zoning and the development of housing trust funds that could help fill the gaps where the federal government money falls short.

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