Why We Need Affordable Homes
This literature review from Enterprise’s Knowledge, Impact and Strategy team summarizes what we currently know from research about the effects of stable and affordable housing. We condense this research into defensible points – backed by solid supporting evidence – to serve as a resource for understanding and communicating the many impacts of affordable housing. While the research cited covers a wide range of disciplines and sources, it is only a starting point to understanding the profound impact of affordable housing. And while many knowledge gaps still exist, new research studies are constantly emerging. We are dedicated to supporting this research, as well as to sharing "what works" in improving the stability and quality of life for families and communities.
Affordable Housing & Household Stability
Affordable Housing & Household Stability Nearly 19 million U.S. households pay over half their income on housing, and hundreds of thousands more have no home at all. Access to decent, affordable housing would provide critical stability for these families, and lower the risk that vulnerable families become homeless.
Affordable Housing & Economic Security
Affordable Housing & Economic Security High housing costs leave low-income families with little left over for other important expenses, leading to difficult budget trade-offs. Affordable housing increases the amount that families can put toward other important household needs and savings for the future.
Housing Stability & Education
Housing instability can seriously jeopardize children’s performance and success in school, and contribute to long-lasting achievement gaps. Quality affordable housing helps create a stable environment for children, contributing to improved educational outcomes.
Housing Stability & Health
Housing instability and homelessness have serious negative impacts on child and adult health. Affordable housing can improve health by providing stability, freeing up resources for food and health care and increasing access to amenities in quality neighborhoods.
Healthy Housing & Asthma
Green improvements to affordable housing can improve the health outcomes of low-income families – particularly children at risk for asthma. This, in turn, can contribute to better school performance by reducing asthma symptoms and missed school days.
Energy Efficiency Improvements
Energy efficient improvements reduce the long-term operating costs of subsidized multifamily buildings. This helps to stabilize the portfolios of affordable housing providers, preserve the affordable rental housing stock and protect tenants from instability.
Transportation Costs & Access
The proportion of household budget that goes towards paying for housing and transportation has risen dramatically over the last decade, leaving families with less money for other necessities. In addition, most cities lack well-planned transit access for low-income communities. Affordable housing located near public mass transit can help low-income residents save money, access better jobs, improve health and reach critical community services.
Affordable housing contributes to significant economic impacts, including increases in local purchasing power, job creation and new tax revenues. Affordable housing has been shown to have a neutral or positive effect on surrounding property values.
Affordable Housing for Seniors
The number of homeless and unstably housed seniors is projected to grow, creating serious health consequences as they often face declining incomes, increased medical costs and housing that may not be designed for their needs. Quality affordable housing may promote better mental and physical health, improved quality of life and independence for low-income seniors.