The Housing Crisis
According to the National Housing Conference, the housing crisis is a complex problem with many causes and effects, but it boils down to this: there aren't enough houses for people who need them. There are shortages of affordable housing for a growing number of working Americans, which has driven rising housing costs and rates of homelessness across the country.
The cost of housing, for both homeowners and renters, is less affordable today than at any time in more than one hundred years – and it is on a steady path to get worse unless we act immediately.
Fewer homeowners mean more renters, more renters mean higher rents, and higher rents mean more economic homelessness, which is driving our national homeless numbers higher every year.
To reverse this trend, we must address local regulations that drive costs of existing housing even higher and increase the cost of building new housing higher than ever.
Housing Costs Rising In Pennsylvania
Among the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania is the issue of housing affordability. From 2020 to 2021, housing prices rose 14% in central Pennsylvania and apartment rents increased 40% from 2017 levels.
“In a ranking of community concerns, housing affordability outpolled drug addiction, the economic and health effects of COVID-19, and crime.” according to Up for Growth CEO Mike Kingsella and COO Leah MacArthur noted in the report.
High housing costs can result in homelessness, as well as make it difficult for people who rent to save enough money for a down payment on their own home.
Why Affordability Matters
Without affordable housing, families have limited opportunities to increase their earnings and as a result, the economy grows more slowly. "In fact, researchers estimate that the growth in GDP between 1964 and 2009 would have been 13.5% higher if families had better access to affordable housing. This would have led to a $1.7 trillion increase in income, or $8,775 in additional wages per worker." which was noted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. By helping families with affordable housing, it can improve health outcomes and increase earnings over a lifetime. Researchers have found that stable, affordable housing leads to positive outcomes for neighborhoods.