What Are the Benefits of Affordable Housing?
To answer this question, we have written a well-detailed answer to shed some light on the concept and give you a better understanding of how affordable housing helps individuals and society at large.
Housing is a basic necessity, and people should not have to choose between one basic need or the other.
Making housing easily accessible to low-income earners gives them the chance to invest their money in other necessities of life, such as food, health, and education, thereby enhancing their productivity and well-being.
How Does Affordable Housing Help Society as a Whole?
Affordable housing helps society as a whole in different ways. Not only does it generally reduce poverty and homelessness, but it also increases individual productivity.
Individual productivity is important to society because where there are more productive people, there are lesser crime rates.
Affordable housing also has a good impact on economic development. The building of these houses creates employment and provides a source of income for local governments through taxes on builders.
Also, the reduced cost of accommodation creates more money for spending within the surrounding economy.
How is Affordable Housing Different From Section 8?
Although Section 8 and affordable housing both aim at assisting the low-income class with housing, they differ in a couple of ways. They each have different eligibility requirements and methods of providing housing services.
Affordable housing is generally open to a wider range of income earners than in section 8. While Section 8 mostly favors households with very low income, affordable housing is accessible to families with higher income, but still below the average area income (ideally 80%).
Affordable housing consists of houses owned by the government or private and are made available to renters who earn less than the average median income in a specific area.
Section 8, on the other hand, provides subsidy vouchers to low-income earners to help them afford private or public housing in any area of their choice.
What Are the Different Types of Affordable Subsidized Housing?
The government provides housing subsidies to people who have to spend more than thirty percent of their income on accommodation. Different subsidized housing programs have been put in place to assist various levels of income earners, and they are as follows:
Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers
Section 8 vouchers are administered by Public Housing Agencies to low-income earners to assist them in acquiring decent accommodation of their choice, not necessarily in a unit located within a subsidized housing project.
The vouchers are provided based on household size and income.
Families or individuals issued section 8 vouchers are responsible for finding an eligible housing unit and are required to pay the difference between the rental fee and the subsidy provided by the government, which is ideally not more than thirty percent of their income.
- Low-Income Public Housing
The low-income public housing program was created to provide affordable decent and safe rental accommodation for eligible families, elderly and disabled people who earn less than average.
The housing types are in the form of apartments and scattered sites and are managed by local housing agencies.
Residents of public housing are required to pay either a percentage of their income (ideally 30%) or a minimum rent between $0 and $50 as decided independently by each housing agency.
It is also expected of public housing participants to engage in community service from time to time.
- Subsidized Project-Based Section 8
There is often a mix up between the subsidized project-based section 8 housing program and section 8 housing vouchers.
With project-based section 8, the subsidy is made by the government on private properties on behalf of low-income earners, and without the need for vouchers.
Since the subsidy is attached to specific houses, when a resident moves out of a project-based Section 8 subsidized unit, they lose the benefits completely.
Tenants under this housing program are expected to pay thirty percent of their adjusted income as rent.
- Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) was put in place to encourage the construction and rehabilitation of affordable houses.
This system awards tax credits to private developers of affordable properties through a competitive process to subsidize the cost of setting up these structures.
The tax credits obtained by developers are generally sold to investors to acquire equity for the properties.
With the low-income housing tax credit in place, the cost of financing the construction of affordable housing is made feasible, and developers can expand the supply of affordable houses.
The rent of affordable properties, which could be apartment buildings, single-family houses, townhouses, or duplexes, must not exceed thirty percent of the income earned by no more than 80% average income earners.
Also, the properties must pass the income test for 15 years or lose their tax credit.
The benefits of affordable housing cannot be overemphasized. The government has put in place several means to provide subsidized housing for its citizens, each with its advantages.
These programs not only benefit individuals and families in many different ways but also society at large.
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