Pitch for More Affordable Housing

Jul 22, 2016

by David Levine, President/CEO

Founded in 1936, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) is a consortium of real estate developers, affordable housing providers, and land use experts from both the public and private sector.

Formerly the head of ULI and Trammell Crow, a private real estate developer, Ron Terwilliger has led his eponymous center at ULI with an emphasis on affordable and workforce housing development.  As he states in this informative ULI video, more than 20 million households nationwide are paying 50 percent or more toward housing costs.

That cost burden erodes economic growth.  It means that households have very little financial cushion when something happens — and the unexpected happens all the time.  We’ve seen many clients and residents for whom the one event, the unexpected incident, can create a housing crisis.

At one end of the risk spectrum, it might be the house fire that brought one family to our door.  Their insurance did not cover the losses and the family had nowhere to turn.  Later, the head of the family, a single mother of two young children, underwent medical treatments for a life-threatening illness.

At the other end of the spectrum, it might be a college application fee that keeps a family from paying its rent in full for a month.  Hopefully, they can catch up on their housing expenses the same month. Otherwise, because of this one expense, they may end up on a downward spiral that could cost them their housing.