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Spring 2017

What does housing affordability mean? We bring in the history, the challenges, the different contexts, and the many ways to define what having “enough” means to provide a comprehensive look at this fundamental question.

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A calculator and black pen lie upon a double ruled notebook.

After Paying for Housing, How Much is Enough for Basic Necessities?

We need some standards to explain what “enough” means. Here's a breakdown of the Family Budget Calculator, the Self-Sufficiency Standard, and the Housing Poverty Measure.

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Three members of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California give a thumbs up as they hold "Register and Vote" signs in different languages.
Organizing Strategy

How the Bay Area Got $2 Billion for Affordable Homes

San Francisco Bay Area voters approved bold new investments in 2016 after housing advocates–part of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California–ignited a successful electoral strategy for the general election. Here’s how it worked.

A female doctor t the Daughters of Charity Health Center in New Orleans wears a white lab coat with a stethoscope and stands next to an African American woman, who is wearing a black shirt.
Health

A Look at a Medical, Legal Aid Partnership in New Orleans

A health center has partnered with a legal services agency to better help patients by addressing the social determinants of health. This “medical-legal partnership” is part of a growing trend that’s taking place across the nation.

A member of a New Jersey based advocacy group crosses her hands over her chest and her fellow group members line up behind her with their arms extended. This is a trust fall.
Health

Creating a Sanctuary For Youth in Camden, New Jersey

At Hopeworks ‘N Camden, youth have often experienced a lifetime of traumatic events and toxic stress. Learning from the health world’s understanding of trauma can create better outcomes for service organizations—and better workplaces too.

A grey-colored apartment building in Oakland California.
Opinion

Thoughts on the Unnatural Occurrence of Cheap Housing

There are two major issues with NOAH, better known as Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing. One is semantic, and one is practical.

A black and white photo of a dozen or so residents of a multifamily building standing outside with a "Save Chinatown Housing" sign.
Housing

Will Limited-Equity Cooperatives Make a Comeback?

Federal programs and cultural attitudes that helped launch a majority of the large limited-equity co-ops across the nation are long gone, but at a smaller scale, this model of resident-controlled, long-term affordable housing may be experiencing new interest.

A woman who attended the 2016 National Housing Conference's event in New York City speak at the microphone.
Housing

How to Build a Case for Community Development and Affordable Housing

In the new administration, housing programs will feel the pressure of budgetary cuts and tax reform. Advocates should be careful not to put down other programs in the process of defending their own, or everyone will lose.

Rancho Lindo, an apartment complex in the San Joaquin Valley in California.
Housing

When Deep-Income Targeting Doesn’t Hit the Mark

Deep-income targeting, where the focus is on housing those with the lowest incomes, can mean dramatically different things to affordable rental housing developers in different states, and even in different market areas within the same state.

A multi-story home in Highland Falls New York, a wealthy suburb.
Housing

The Secret History of Area Median Income

AMI is typically used to determine whether a person is eligible for housing assistance. But in a large and wealthy area like the New York City metro, the resulting definitions of “low income” are often skewed, leaving out those who really need the help.

The towering Co-op City in the Bronx, New York, the largest cooperative housing development in the world.
Housing

The 30 Percent Rent-to-Income Ratio Doesn’t Add Up in NYC

The 30 percent standard only ‘works’ in calculations where it is irrelevant. The residual-income approach, on the other hand, can turn what all too often becomes an abstract and theoretical discussion into a series of researchable questions.

Housing

Housing Need Is Even More Skewed by Income Than We Thought

Measuring only for cost burden overstates the housing needs of higher-income people and understates the extreme need at the lower end.

Housing

In Defense of the 30 Percent of Income to Housing Affordability Rule–In Some Cases

At an individual level, the 30 percent standard and the residual-income standard can produce very different results. But as a regional measure of affordability problems, they’re not so far apart.

A concept piece of scales, on on side, a hand is shown placing money, on the other side, a home raises.
Housing

Affordability: The 30 Percent Standard’s Blinders

Using a simple cost-to-income ratio to measure affordability doesn’t give us a good picture of who is really burdened by housing cost. We need a different approach.