A new survey from Neighborworks America highlights that just 1 in 4 Americans feel their voice is being heard on the issue of affordable housing.
While a majority of Americans are concerned about a lack of affordable housing in their communities, few agree there is strong or sufficient leadership speaking on behalf of affordable housing or that resident voices are being heard.
According to the survey, 74% of Americans said they are concerned about the lack of affordable housing in their community, however, only 1 in 4 feel their voice is being heard on the issue (26%).
The survey also found that just 1 in 3 Americans agree there is strong leadership speaking on behalf of their communities and that few believe there are enough people overall speaking on behalf of affordable housing (approximately 34% and 35%).
"At a time when affordable housing is not just a policy challenge but a moral imperative, it is critical that community leaders and residents unite with a resounding, collective voice in support for affordable housing," said NeighborWorks America's President & CEO Marietta Rodriguez. "Residents particularly play a pivotal role in being heard because of their intimate understanding of the housing needs in their neighborhoods. Too often residents are not invited to weigh in on decisions and that results in missed opportunities to position them as key problem solvers."
The NeighborWorks survey reveals a startling need for residents to be equipped with tools to help elevate their voices and ensure their opinions are heard and are given equal importance to others in their communities, including leaders in business and government, according to Rodriguez.
Perceptions of the State of Affordable Housing
A large majority of Americans are concerned about a lack of affordable housing in their communities and throughout the country.
Three-quarters or more are very or somewhat concerned about the lack of affordable housing in:
- Their community: 74%
- Their state: 76%
- The U.S.: 80%
Less than two-in-five Americans agree that:
- Their voice is being heard in discussions about affordable housing in their community (26% agree)
- There are enough people in their community speaking for affordable housing (35% agree)
- There is strong leadership in their community speaking for affordable housing (34% agree)
Perceptions about increasing affordable housing opportunities in people’s communities are decidedly mixed:48% of Americans have a positive outlook on the prospects of increasing affordable housing, while 37% have a negative outlook, and 15% don’t know or don’t have an opinion.
Responsibility for Increasing Affordable Housing
When asked who should be responsible for increasing affordable housing opportunities in their community, Americans are most likely to point to:
- State policymakers: 44%
- Local leaders in their community 41%
- Local policymakers: 38%
Less than two-in-five Americans agree that local (37%) and state (35%) policymakers are taking the issue of affordable housing seriously.
Preferences for Future Action Around Affordable Housing
Close to half of Americans believe each of the following would help make their communities more affordable places to live:
- New policies promoting affordable housing (47%)
- More resources for building affordable apartments (45%)
- More resources for building affordable houses and condominiums (44%)
Additionally, one-third of Americans (35%) believe housing affordability would be improved in their communities if local residents had a greater voice in their support for affordable housing.
To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.