What Is Faith In Housing?
The lack of affordable housing is a crisis in many American cities, leading to homelessness and fragile housing situations. Government resources are inadequate to solve the problem alone, especially when public policy does not lead for-profit developers to contribute to solutions.
Congregations across all faiths are accustomed to helping the homeless with their immediate needs of food and shelter, but after thousands of volunteer hours and decades of collecting donated items, some are choosing to also live their faith by using congregational resources to create affordable housing.
Faith In Housing began as a workshop sponsored by the Stan Greenspon Center to showcase six Charlotte congregations that are creating affordable housing. What was envisioned as a small gathering turned into an event attended by over 130 clergy and congregants in November 2018. The event highlights reel has been viewed more than one thousand times.
Starting in 2019, this blog site will share examples of congregations based on the workshop. Read the opening blog post here. Future blog posts will include three congregations creating on-site housing (leasing land, leasing housing, repurposing education or worship buildings) and three off-site initiatives (supporting agencies, subsidizing rent, lending at below-market rates).
How can your congregation create affordable housing?
Consider your resources – some, sizable, or signature funding – and whether you have on-site capacity or not:
Share with us what your congregation is doing by joining the discussion sponsored by the Stan Greenspon Center.
The Basic Math of Affordable Housing
· Housing is affordable when it costs no more than 30% of your monthly income.
· Income levels are often expressed as a percentage of Area Median Income (AMI), which is adjusted for local housing costs and household size. In Charlotte, AMI for a family of three is $66,700, so half the families earn more than this and half earn less. Affordable housing for a family at AMI (often referred to as 100% AMI) would cost no more than $1,670/month.
· At $15/hour, a single parent with two children in Charlotte earns under 50% AMI. Affordable housing for this family would cost no more than $680/month.
· At minimum wage ($7.25/hour) this family earns about 20% AMI, and $330/month constitutes affordable housing.
For definitions of other terms in the affordable housing sector, check out our Resources page.