January 20, 2011

Affordable Housing: What Does it Mean, Where Did it Go?

For the orientation of new Bread for the City staff, volunteers, and interns, Wendy Guyton (Social Services) and Rebecca Lindhurst (Legal Clinic) teamed up to create a Powerpoint presentation about affordable housing in DC. I found it very helpful, and I think you will too.
Affordable Housing Crisis in the District of Columbia

Some of the facts that really jumped out at me:

  • Housing is considered affordable if it is 30% of a household's budget. One in five DC residents have severe housing affordability problems, meaning they spend more than half of their income on housing.
  • "Fair Market Rent" for a two-bedroom in DC is $1,494 a month. But households using safety net programs bring home far less: $674 for SSI, $270 for Interim Disability Assistance, and $428 for a mother and two children on TANF.
  • A minimum wage worker ($8.25/hr in DC) must work approximately 139 hours per week to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.
  • In the last ten years, DC has lost one-third of its affordable housing stock.
  • There are 31,777 names on the waiting list for affordable housing. Of them, 16,000 are designated as homeless.
While statistics and budget numbers help us understand the scope of the problem, it's stories that really motivate people to take action. In the next few months, we'll publish blog posts from members of our new Client Advisory Board who have struggled to find and maintain safe, affordable housing. We'll also tell you about the new efforts of Social Services and the Legal Clinic, and the budget decisions facing the city.

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