The national affordable housing crisis continues to spiral out of control as COVID-19 shows no sign of stopping. Some factors playing into this are horrifying and mitigation is needed urgently. Nationally, there is a shortage of over 7-million homes. This contributes to the fact that over half-a-million American’s are homeless.

Photo by Steve Knutson.

What caused this crisis? Well, looking at income statistics and accessibility of assistance; it should come as no surprise that 3 out of 4 low-income families pay more than half their income on rent and only 1 in 4 actually receive any assistance. Why does it matter? Housing is the key to reducing intergenerational poverty and increasing economic mobility. Affordable housing has been proven as one of the most effective strategies for reducing childhood poverty and increasing long-term generational socio-economic mobility. Increasing access to affordable housing not only increases regional growth, but sustainable growth for the generations to come.

Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda

Every state, town, and community is impacted by these harrowing statistics. Families suffering have fewer options than ever before. Each year the affordable housing shortage gets worse; increasing homelessness in our country and creates barriers to access in regards to basic needs like healthcare and even food. When families are forced to spend a majority of their income on rent, without gaining a cent of equity, it prevents them from being able to dedicate resources to economic stability and growth.

Solutions are hard to come by. However, there are some dedicated organizations across the country established to help the American people come home. Organization’s like Renters-To-Owners in Rochester, NY, is among the brave fighting on the frontlines to create homeownership opportunity in their community. Rochester is an upstate New York snowy wonderland rampant with poverty in both its’ inner-city communities and even its suburbs.

Renters-To-Owners has created a solution to the affordable housing crisis by repurposing, remodeling, and reinventing abandoned and disrupted properties around the city. Once the homes are prepared, a rental value on the property is determined, they are able to move in as a renter. Once the renter has occupied the unit, Renters-To-Owners has built a network of resources in the community for that renter to convert into a buyer without having to front any up-front costs or even change their rental payment. By partnering with organizations involved with down-payment support, tax credits, and more, Renters-To-Owners helps that renter convert to a homeowner at no additional cost to the renter. So, the renter becomes an owner at no additional cost and the rent-payment is able to stay the same with no additional cost to the new homeowner.

This is a new model and Renters-To-Owners is launching it in the city of Rochester, NY. Upon working within their community, we hope that this type of model will be able to be scaled to meet the needs of communities around the United States. It’s a bright day when organizations are taking a stand to help the communities they serve gain access to economic mobility, stability and overall happier and healthier lives.

Rochester, NY (Photo by Yassine Khalfalli)

We look forward to following the success stories as organizations like Renters-To-Owners begin to mitigate the affordable housing crisis.

I'm an avid finance and social-econ blogger. I travel the world to find solutions to complexities involving poverty and social conditions.