Each and every day, one in six families is forced to make impossible decisions between a safe place to live, nutritious food, health care, access to good schools, or reliable transportation. Here in Chester County, many families face a cycle of daunting living expenses that causes strain on achievement in all other aspects of life. At Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, our mission is to relieve the burden of the cost of a home. We strive to provide an equal opportunity to families who need a hand-up to succeed.
Cost of Home is a five-year advocacy campaign through which local Habitat organizations, partners, volunteers, and community members across the country are working together so that 10 million people can access an affordable home.
Why Housing Affordability?
Stable housing — safe, healthy, and affordable housing — is foundational to individuals and families, the communities in which we live, and the economies in which we all participate.
Before the 2020 pandemic, 17 million U.S. households were paying more than half of their income on a place to live. As housing costs continue to rise throughout 2023, this number is rapidly growing. To learn more about the current state of affordable housing in the United States, read the report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies: The State of the Nation’s Housing 2023
At Habitat for Humanity, we know that a family should never have to spend more than 30% of their income on a home. The Cost of Home campaign has already helped more than 6.5 million people access stable, affordable homes through our advocacy to influence policies at the local, state, and federal levels. But we haven’t reached our goal — yet. That’s why we need you to join us.
The factors related to creating more affordable homes are supply, credit, land, and communities. These four factors are interconnected, and policies that address challenges related to affordability can impact multiple elements.
Supply: Increasing supply and preservation of affordable homes
We support policies that increase the production, preservation, and accessibility of affordable homes for lower-income households.
Equitably increasing access to credit
We support policies that increase and broaden access to safe and sound credit for underserved populations.
Optimizing land use for affordable homes
We support policies related to land acquisition, use, and development that bring down the cost of building, promote fair housing, and fully reflect community needs.
Ensuring access to and development of communities of opportunity
We support policies that protect and strengthen neighborhoods and enable communities to thrive.
Achieving policy solutions in these four areas will give families greater access to homes they can afford and to all the opportunities that follow.
To learn more about the four policy focus areas, please visit our Cost of Home policy platform.
Neighborhood Home Reinvestment Act
In June 2023, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (H.R.3940 and S.657) was reintroduced in the House by Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Brian Higgins (D-NY). This bipartisan and now bicameral bill would increase the nation’s affordable homeownership supply and support Habitat’s work by investing in both new construction and home rehabilitation projects in distressed communities.
Reintroduction is a critical first step, but we need your help to move the bill forward and gather more support. You can maximize our advocacy impact by sending your members of Congress an email and calling using our new and easy call-in option to urge them to cosponsor the bill to ensure NHIA crosses the finish line in both chambers this congressional term. See if your community qualifies for NHIA funding.
As a reminder, NHIA is the top federal policy priority of the Cost of Home campaign and is a crucial focus of August recess advocacy. We appreciate your support!
Through the Cost of Home campaign, Habitat affiliates across the U.S. are working in partnership with coalitions and policymakers to influence policies to increase home affordability. This June 2023, we celebrated the Cost of Home campaign’s fourth anniversary and the Advancing Black Homeownership initiative’s first anniversary! We strive to achieve worldwide access to affordable housing by doing our part here in Chester County. Learn more about how to act now for affordable housing.