ABOUT US: CEO LETTER

America’s Unaffordable Housing Crisis – An Unacceptable National Shame
One in four American families is a paycheck away from financial hardship. Their economic challenges don’t need to be compounded by a widespread lack of affordable housing options. With your help, we can change things for millions of people who call America home.

In order to better understand and help develop workable solutions to the growing American housing crisis, we have recently undertaken a series of surveys to examine attitudes about housing and what we call “housing stress.” Our published studies include a look at millennials, baby boomers, mothers of adult children and the general population.

A recent NHPF-commissioned study found that, at some point in their lives, 65% of respondents said that they were – or had a friend or relative who was – “cost-burdened.” Sadly, that term means they are paying more than 30% of their income to keep a roof over their heads.

Clearly, those survey results call out the way so many of our fellow Americans are forced to live. The shortage of affordable housing is not a remote problem that only happens to “other people.” In fact, it’s not even a problem that only hurts “other generations.”

NHPF’s survey of retired Baby Boomers showed that almost half experience daily anxiety over their housing costs. This multi-generational stress also extends to members of the “Sandwich Generation” – adults forced to live with and care for their retired parents as well as their young adult children because of the family’s financial constraints.

When speaking specifically with mothers of adult children, we found other housing stress – nearly 63% of these moms feel that their adult children are unprepared to live on their own and nearly a third (29.86%) are anxious about their grown children needing to stay with them for an extended period of time.

Their Millennial children are not immune either. Of those we surveyed, 69% fell into the “cost-burdened” category when it came to housing. That is no way for this nation’s largest generation to start their adult lives.

These frightening truths about American housing insecurity cast a stark light on why NHPF fights. We hold fast to the belief that a community cannot sustain itself without service-enriched housing affordable to the economically disadvantaged members of that community.

Without the security of housing, those who hold the positions that define a healthy community—teachers, firefighters, police officers, members of the clergy, health care providers and many other low and moderate income families and seniors—are often forced to withdraw and relocate, thus depriving the place they once called home of its very lifeblood.

This is a problem that harms more than just one person or one family or one community at a time. This is a problem that harms the very fabric of our society, and it is one that should be solved in the most forward-thinking and creative ways possible.

At NHPF, we’re fighting hard to ensure that where you live matters. I welcome those who will join us in this fight, and thank those with whom we already stand shoulder to shoulder.

Richard F. Burns
NHPF President & Chief Executive Officer