The Issue of Affordable Housing


Here at Habitat for Humanity, we work to build a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

For some of us, finding affordable housing can be a struggle. For example, virtually nowhere in the US can a full-time minimum wage employee afford a one-bedroom apartment. More than half of all adults have made at least one tradeoff in the past three years to cover their rent or mortgage. Tradeoffs include taking a second job, cutting back on health care and healthy food, and moving to less safe neighborhoods.

In Teller County, housing is a challenge for many people because:

  • The minimum wage is not keeping pace with the rising cost of housing, and many workers struggle to afford a decent home, often paying 30 – 50% of their income on housing.
  • Service jobs pay among the lowest wages in the county ($36,000 or less in 2016), and place additional strain on already scarce affordable rentals and entry-level ownership housing.
  • Home prices are increasing, with the median home value for Teller County at $232,300 (Source: 2015 Dept. of Housing and Urban Development).
  • The estimated need for affordable housing in Teller County is 1,262 units. (Source: 2016 Teller County Needs Assessment).

A decent, affordable home is something we all need to thrive.

The benefits associated with housing include:

  • Stable housing supports healthy growth and development in young children
  • Children of homeowners are 116% more likely to attend college than children of renters
  • The foreclosure rate on Habitat houses in the United States is less than 2% on an annualized basis
  • Habitat homeowners work to build their own homes, go through financial education classes, and pay an affordable mortgage