Although most Minnesotans recognize the need for more affordable housing, there are some who, for one reason or another, still do not support expanding the availability of housing for all Minnesota families. This reluctance to support affordable housing is most often based on inaccurate information about affordable housing and the people who benefit from it.
The following guide can be used to correct some of that inaccurate information. The suggested responses to affordable housing stereotypes may be helpful when speaking with policy leaders, or in setting the record straight when someone says something inaccurate about affordable housing.
Affordable housing will increase crime and threaten the safety of children in the neighborhood. Affordable housing residents will be involved in drug trafficking. Affordable housing will attract other dangerous people or criminals. Affordable housing residents will disrupt the peace of the neighborhood. They will have different values and will cause disorder, such as public drunkenness, loitering, graffiti, and vandalism.
There is no evidence of an increase in crime resulting from the introduction of affordable housing into a neighborhood. In fact, much of the affordable housing now being developed in inner cities and older neighborhoods replaces broken-down and crime- ridden buildings and can serve to reduce the neighborhood crime rate. Careful screening, proper management, and security measures help assure that illegal activities do not take place and that, if they do, they are dealt with swiftly and decisively. Most affordable housing residents want nothing more than to become part of the quiet, peaceful life of the surrounding community. They have sought out affordable housing so that they can live independent, self-sufficient lives.
b) PROPERTY VALUES
Affordable housing will lower the value of surrounding homes. More people will try to sell their homes when affordable housing is introduced to the neighborhood. Affordable housing will become quickly run-down.
One housing development can't affect an entire neighborhood. Property market movement results primarily from neighborhood desirability, characteristics of the housing being sold, and the overall development and prosperity. Research has found that affordable housing has no negative impact on the price or frequency of sales of neighboring homes. Because contemporary affordable housing is attractively designed, professionally managed, and well-maintained, it preserves its good appearance, usefulness, and value over time. It will not reduce the desirability of the surrounding area. Property values are affected by a wide array of factors, and it is unlikely that one affordable housing development would adversely affect the property values of an entire neighborhood. In fact, a number of studies have documented that contemporary affordable housing development have not impact on nearby property values, and in some cases contribute to increased property values. One study conducted in Minneapolis found that "proximity to nonprofit-developed subsidized housing actually enhances property values." New affordable housing developments are high quality, attractive units that blend in well with the surrounding community. Source: MICAH
Affordable housing will look like "cheap housing." It will be unattractive and won't fit in with other homes in the area. It will be unclean and dilapidated and will lower the aesthetic character of the neighborhood. Due to its height and mass, affordable housing will be out of scale with the neighborhood and will obstruct views. Affordable housing is "low cost" because it is cheaply built and poorly maintained.
Most contemporary affordable housing is in the same style as, and often the same materials as, surrounding homes. Most people are unaware of this precisely because the new affordable housing blends in so well. Affordable housing must comply with the same building restrictions and design standards as market-rate housing. Because it is often funded in part with public money, sometimes it needs to comply with additional restrictions and higher standards than market-rate housing. Nonprofit developers typically have volunteer boards of directors from the community who have a long-term interest in and concern for the whole community. These boards ensure that the affordable housing fits into the community and is well-managed over the long-term. Public agencies funding affordable housing have a long-term interest in ensuring that the public investment provides a long-term benefit to the community. These agencies award funding to developers who share this long-term commitment. Proper siting and planning with community involvement can eliminate the concern of an unattractive development. Affordable housing is not "affordable" because it is cheaply built or operated. It is "affordable" in the sense of less costly to live in because it is supported by financing from a variety of public and private sources.
Higher density housing will increase traffic. With an increase in population, the neighborhood will be more crowded. The peaceful environment will be disturbed.
Studies show that affordable housing residents own fewer cars and drive less often than those in the surrounding neighborhood. Proper planning and design can prevent the perception that higher-density neighborhoods are "overcrowded." When families can afford housing, they do not need to "double up" to pay rent.
e) ONLY A CERTAIN TYPE OF PERSON NEEDS/LIVES IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Who needs /lives in affordable housing? Anyone who is affected by the high costs of housing in our region. In many cases, people who need affordable housing are often already members of the community. They are senior citizens living on fixed incomes and families working entry-level and low-wage jobs. They are preschool teachers, travel agents, and medical assistants. Also, affordable housing developments have very stringent admission and eligibility standards; credit history, prior rental history, and criminal records are routinely checked. Source: MICAH According to the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development, your housing is "affordable" if you do not pay more than 30% of your monthly household income for rent and utilities. In the case of home ownership, affordability varies depending upon details such as: household income, prevailing interest rates, amount of down payment, and the type of mortgage selected. The largest subsidy for housing in the United States is the federal income tax deduction for mortgage, which totaled $58.3 billion in 1995 (latest year for which figures are available). This was almost three times the entire budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development that year. Homeowner deductions for local property taxes totaled another $14.2 billion in 1995. Wealthy Americans are chief beneficiaries of these tax deductions. The 1.2 percent of tax payers with incomes over $200,000 received $12.6 billion in mortgage interest deductions in 1995 - 21.6 percent of the total. The 5.6 percent of tax payers with incomes over $100,000 claimed 49.7 percent of the total. In other words, the largest housing subsidy benefits the rich. Source: MICAH
The conventional housing market does not supply enough affordable housing because high land prices and other costs make it not sufficiently profitable. Everyone is concerned about their families, wants and deserves to make a home living in clean, safe neighborhoods.
f) AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS NOT A COMMUNITY ASSET
Affordable housing is unattractive, attracts crime, and reduces property values. Housing is an economic drain on cities.
Affordable housing is an asset to the community and part of the solution to our communities' problems because: Affordable housing located near jobs or public transit reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality by reducing the commute times of low-paid workers who must otherwise commute long distances. Workers have higher productivity and better morale.
Employers can reduce the amount they must spend to comply with the states air quality and traffic mitigation requirements. Affordable housing reduces overcrowding. In some cases, affordable housing replaces deteriorated buildings, attracts new investment to the area and encourages nearby owners to reinvest. A full range of affordable and available housing is critical for restoring a competitive business climate. Locally, access to affordable housing enables low-paid workers to pursue education and training leading to higher-paying careers and to establish roots in the community. These lower-paid workers are critical to the economy and we all regularly depend upon them to help us maintain our quality of life and well being. Access to affordable housing enables low-paid workers and others to avoid homelessness and to avoid the need for public benefits.
Affordable housing enables individuals to stabilize their lives so they can pursue jobs, access needed services, and deal effectively with their any problems they may have. Availability of affordable housing enables the city to attract and to retain employers who require affordable housing for their lower level employees. The high cost of housing is one of business' most frequently cited impediments to recruiting and maintaining employees. Affordable housing keeps the costs of doing business down. Homebuilding creates a significant number of jobs and generates tax revenues. Homebuilding generates three to four jobs, including manufacturing jobs, for every onsite construction job. Homebuilding creates a significant amount of indirect economic activity.
Construction wages generates more ripple effects - adding purchasing power and sales taxes - than most unskilled service sector jobs. Affordable housing cannot solve our communities' fiscal problems, but it is one part of the solution because it reduces the stress on other government-provided. social services. And, affordable housing developments bring large federal, state, and private subsidies to local communities. These subsidies in turn support existing local jobs and create new ones, particularly in the construction and services industries.
Affordable housing, including housing with support services, is the most cost-effective way of helping the most vulnerable members of our community, such as the seniors and the disabled, reach their potential. Without this kind of assistance, higher levels of public services are required.