Nearly 19 million households across the United States are spending at least half of their income on a place to live, often forgoing basic necessities such as food and health care to make ends meet. In the city of Jackson, over 65% of people who live in poverty pay more than half their income on a place to live. The stability that housing should bring continues to remain out of reach for many people.
On Wednesday, June 12, Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity joins Habitat organizations across the country to launch a new national advocacy campaign aimed at improving home affordability for 10 million people in the U.S. over the next five years.
Marking significant growth in Habitat’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has a safe and decent place to call home, the Cost of Home campaign seeks to identify and improve policies and systems through coordinated advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels.
Cost of Home focuses on improving housing affordability across the housing continuum in four specific policy areas: increasing supply and preservation of affordable homes, equitably increasing access to credit, optimizing land use for affordable homes, and ensuring access to and development of communities of opportunity.
Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity already has taken several steps toward these goals. In partnership with the City of Jackson and Community Action Agency, Habitat plans to build a neighborhood near the downtown area of the city that will consist of 14 new homes and provide stability through homeownership for 14 low income families.
“There is a serious need in Jackson for safe, decent housing that people who live below the area median income can afford to live in. More than a third of the people in the City live in households with income less than 80% of the area median income. More than 60% of those people pay at least half of their income on housing,” Greater Jackson Habitat Executive Director Wendy Clow said. “Habitat is known for building houses. There’s only so much that building can do to affect the issue of affordable housing. Another large part of what we do is advocacy. Habitat’s brand is recognizable and powerful, and we hope to use it to work with other local agencies and municipalities to help raise awareness and find solutions.”