Habitat Chesapeake Goes to DC!
Habitat Chesapeake Hits the Road to Learn More About Home Affordability
How does housing affordability affect our entire country? What solutions are possible when we come together to tackle housing for all? Habitat Chesapeake staff and HabiCorps program members visited Washington, D.C. this spring to learn more about the national home affordability crisis at a special exhibit at the National Building Museum.
Millions of people in the US can’t find an affordable home. Rising housing costs and interest rates have put homeownership out of reach for growing numbers of families who currently rent.
— A Better Way Home: The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, exhibit on display at the National Building Museum through October 2023
According to the exhibit entitled “A Better Way Home: the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge”, there is no single solution to equitable and affordable housing. Across the country, 10.5 million households spend more than half their income on rent, forcing families to make difficult choices between basic necessities like food, health care, and transportation. The exhibit asked key questions encompassing the inequities in housing in the United States:
How can housing connect us to our shared humanity?
How can the design and construction of affordable homes tap into the power of people and communities to offer choice and opportunity?
How can we eliminate the racial homeownership gap and expand investments in healthy, affordable homes?
Possible solutions and case studies touched on sustainable housing practices, trauma-informed transitional housing, financial literacy access, reforming the credit system, and other aspects that reflect the true Habitat mission: to bring safe, decent and affordable homes to everyone, regardless of who they are.
The exhibit’s overarching theme was clear: “We envision a world where everyone has a healthy, affordable home and access to the health care and services needed to live a long and robust life.”
Habitat Chesapeake partners with potential homebuyers to help make mortgages more affordable, opening the door to homeownership for individuals and families who otherwise would not be able to afford a traditional home mortgage. Homebuyers commit 250 hours of “sweat equity” working onsite to build Habitat homes or in our ReStores, which sell used and new home goods and appliances to raise funds for construction. These homebuyers then receive a zero-percent interest mortgage that is capped at 30% of their gross income upon settlement and successful completion of the homebuyer program, leaving them with enough income to continue paying for other important costs of living.
In addition to affordable mortgage payments, the exhibit also highlighted the critical need for other strategies to address the housing shortage, including sustainable home designs, credit reform, and educational programs to increase financial awareness and combat systemic discrimination in housing. Habitat Chesapeake is pleased to have worked with BuildBlock and the Build With Strength Coalition to bring sustainable concrete home design to Baltimore County – see the pictures of the build here and follow us for more about this unique home design dedicated this year.
Habitat Chesapeake is committed to constantly expanding our knowledge regarding affordable homeownership strategies and building a strong understanding of the challenges that our nation’s housing market faces. Thank you for your continued support as we work to bring our best to Habitat homeowners and neighborhoods where we work!
It’s National Homeownership Month! Follow us on social to stay tuned for more information about how Habitat Chesapeake is bringing more affordable housing opportunities to the central Maryland region.
Do you know where we’re building? Check out our Where We Work page to learn more!
About Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (www.habitatchesapeake.org) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has built more than 780 homes in 19 communities, providing a brighter future for 2,700 children and family members. Homeownership is proven to transform lives – improving health, increasing children’s chances of academic success and offering an opportunity to build wealth across generations. Likewise, homeownership enhances neighborhoods by bringing tangible investment, engaged, long-term residents, rising property values and a sense of community.