Term Paper: How Low-Income Families Have Affordable and Accessible Housing?

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¶ … Affordable and Accessible Housing Can Be Provided for Low Income Individuals and Families Across the Nation

Flow of Information

This paper presents a research proposal aimed at determining what can be done to help low income families have affordable and accessible housing. The writer presents the current issue, a literature review about the problem, a methodology section in which a research method is recommended, and a conclusion. There were 10 sources used to complete This paper.

Throughout the nation, America's poor are facing a serious housing shortage. Not only are there too few housing units available for those below the poverty line, the housing that is available is often out of the price range of those that need it.

The affordable housing is the most urgent, only in the sense that the people who can afford less are way more vulnerable," said Jane Blumenfeld, Los Angeles city principal planner (Garcia, 2003). "If you make $100,000, even though there's a housing shortage, you can find an apartment. If you make $20,000, there are not many places that you can afford (Garcia, 2003)."

There are many factors that contribute to the problem according to experts, including lack of land, lack of funding and lack of public support, but in the meantime low income or poverty level families scramble to figure out where to go or how to live.

The cost of not providing affordable, accessible housing to low income families impacts taxpayers across the county in the way of providing shelters, children not getting educations, children being taken into publically funded foster care when parents can no longer provide for them and health costs for family members who are battling the elements without a place to live.

Cities, starting with the city of Los Angeles, have an aversion to approving new housing on available parcels of land," said Bruce Karatz, chairman and chief executive of KB Home (Garcia, 2003). "They talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, they prefer development of commercial uses that will generate sales tax revenues rather than trying to solve the shortage of housing (Garcia, 2003). And that's the fundamental problem (Garcia, 2003)."

One of the obstacles when it comes to low income housing is lack of public support. Most low income housing sets a baseline of 30% of one's income as the rent. This means that the family living in the residence will pay 30% of their income to live there. Neighbors often object to such housing alternatives being built and provided in their area and insist that the developers take their plans elsewhere. This leaves limited available land for housing units which are already not being built quickly enough or in large enough numbers to accommodate the current need.

The cost of maintaining such housing is another consistently voiced concern when it comes to providing homes to low income families.

Once you lower rents to 30% of income, what happens is that you barely get enough money to pay for the maintenance of the building," said Neelura Bell, program director for the L.A. office of Local Initiatives Support Corp., a group that helps builders of affordable housing secure financing (Garcia, 2003).

The need for affordable and accessible housing for low income families across the nation is growing. San Francisco has an estimated 14,000 people who live in the streets because of the lack of affordable or accessible housing. In addition, there are an estimated 21,000 families without affordable homes who are staying with relatives or being evicted as their rents are not paid. That number can be multiplied throughout the nations urban areas and rural pockets (Palm, 2005).

This research proposal aims to target the low income population and find out what it will take to help them have affordable and accessible housing.

Background of Problem

Affordable and accessible housing for people on low incomes is becoming a crisis. Land in America is becoming sparse, prices of that land continues to rise and people are becoming less able to purchase or even rent affordable housing if they are in a low income bracket.

Options are particularly limited for the rural elderly (Maher, 2000). Those with chronic disabilities need health care, personal care, and social services that often go beyond the capacity of rural communities to provide, particularly for low-income seniors (Maher, 2000). Many are forced to relocate or are unnecessarily institutionalized in more restrictive and more costly nursing homes (Maher, 2000). State Medicaid programs lose millions of dollars as a result of paying for more advanced nursing home care before it is needed (Maher, 2000). This lack of non-institutional, long-term care services in many rural areas may explain why residents of nursing homes from rural areas are observed to be younger and less disabled than their urban counterparts (Maher, 2000). "

Families are another large population in need of affordable and accessible housing on a nationwide level. The government supports and owns many housing projects across America however the number of units available is not close to the number of units needed. In addition the cost of maintenance and upkeep of the units is not often feasible and the public housing projects become run down and undesirable to reside in.

With the need for affordable and accessible housing growing to accommodate a growing low income population the time has come to determine a feasible method by which such housing can be provided.

According to (HUD, 2006a, 26), in the third quarter of 2005, national homeownership rates for all households were at 68.8% and minority households were at 51.2%, revealing a nearly 18% gap. Rental vacancy rates at 9.9% versus homeowner's vacancy at nearly 2%, showing a significant shortfall of nearly 8% (HUD, 2006a, 26) (Thornton, 2005). Median rent was $922, which is a 10% decline from the previous year (HUD, 2006a, 19) (Thornton, 2005). In comparison, the 2006 Department of Housing and Urban Development's maximum fair market rent limits at the 60% level of the county median income, which in Dane County, Wisc., is $988 for a two-bedroom (Wheda, 2005b) (Thornton, 2005). Nationally, the apartment absorption rate was at 65%, which is a 27% decline from the previous year (HUD, 2006a, 19) (Thornton, 2005). Conventional fixed-rate 30-year mortgage are at 5.76%, a 2% decline from last year (HUD, 2006a, 21) (Thornton, 2005). According to (HUD, 2002c), there is an average of about 1,300 LIHTC projects and 90,000 units were placed in service in each year of the 1995 to 2002 period. Whereas the national housing inventory tallied in at 108,431 occupied units, which were placed in service in the 3rd quarter 2005, 74,588 were owner-occupied and 33,843 were renter occupied, leaving 15,688 vacant units (HUD, 2006a, 25) (Thornton, 2005). Affordable housing start-ups are lagging demand (Thornton, 2005)."

Research indicates there is a growing need for housing to accomdate the poor.

Many head of household women who are single parents are also on the welfare roles however, the welfare grants or payments are not enough o afford to rent a place to live with their children. Providing affordable and accessible housing in America will also help to reduce the rate of homeless families (Thornton, 2005). "Fifty percent of women and children in the United States become homelessness when they flee domestic violence and many are turned away by overcrowded shelters and thereby forced to return to their abusers (Thornton, 2005)."

The provision of affordable and accessible housing will help reduce the domestic violence problems as well.

Even those who currently have Section 8 vouchers in their possession are not able to find affordable housing because of discrimination practices when it comes to the nation's

In addition the market rates of rents today are often higher than the voucher limits will provide which shuts the door for many families with low incomes from renting homes.

Research has indicated that landlords often worry that if they rent to section 8 families they will destroy or damage the property.

Tusan (1997) states that nationwide 56% of poor renters spend at least 50% of their income on housing (26). Tusan (1997) asserts that "it would be unrealistic to assume that the job market can absorb all homeless and extremely poor individuals at a wage sufficient to meet current housing costs" (Thornton, 2005)."

Tan (2000) says 64% of families receiving four or more types of assistance are single female high school dropouts with children under 18 (Thornton, 2005). These single mothers spent 70% of their assistance on housing, food, and clothes (Tan, 2000, 33). Hence, increasing affordable housing stock is paramount (Thornton, 2005)."

Methodology

There are many different accepted methods of research in the world today. With each proposed study the possible methods of research are reviewed and then chosen based on the viability of using it for the named study.

When reviewing the many styles of possible research methods many elements are examined including cost, feasibility of use, geographic boundaries and time frames.

While most of today's accepted methods of research have scientific validity they… [END OF PREVIEW]

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