Community Organizing Issue: Housing
Safe and stable housing is a baseline for all well-being. But for many, obtaining affordable and accessible housing is a struggle. These are people who work intensely to overcome cycles of poverty or dependence on others, and their efforts often run into road blocks. The IC’s report on accessible and affordable housing tells the stories of people who are experiencing barriers to obtain and sustain housing.
What is Affordable and Accessible Housing?
The definition of affordability may shift with income; however, guidelines hold true across the economic spectrum. Most financial experts agree that no more than 30% of a household’s income should be devoted to housing, a number that aligns with federal guidelines. No more than 45% of income should be spent on housing and transportation combined.
Accessibility can refer to a person’s ability to enter their home and live fully within every room of their home. It also represents the ability to reach common goods, services and activities. For those who do not own or operate automobiles, access may be particularly restricted.
There are immense housing challenges facing our communities in Colorado Springs and El Paso County. Housing costs are increasing rapidly, and incoming jobs are paying below median wages. The fastest growing sectors of the local economy have lower-than-median earnings on average, yet the market is generating more high-end housing units. In this climate, there is a deficit in the amount of available housing stock in the area that is expected to increase over the next five years. This affects households with extremely low, low and moderate income levels. The number of accessible housing units that are affordable is inadequate to meet the need.
Homelessness in Colorado Springs is a problem that is perpetuated by inadequate housing stock. In 2015, the annual Point in Time survey found a community count of 2,107 people who were living without permanent housing on the day of the count. In the absence of enough affordable homes, people experiencing homelessness who work and earn low incomes are still severely limited in their efforts to find a permanent place to live. If affordable and accessible housing is not increased in Colorado Springs and El Paso County, homelessness will continue to impact social and economic issues.
Enduring societies recognize the need for a variety of housing options to meet the needs of all members of the society. In the Pikes Peak Region, affordability of housing that is accessible for people with low incomes is an increasingly pressing issue.
What can you do?
If you want to help our area get more accessible and affordable housing, you can read The IC’s full report on affordable and accessible housing and contact a Community Organizing staff member at 719-471-8181 for more information on ways to get involved.
For more information about Community Organizing, click the button below or contact the Advocacy Manager at 719-471-8181.
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