Who supports attainable housing? Think of it like this: Can we build strong communities if 61% of Hoosiers are priced out of the housing market? Can we achieve sustainable economic growth when essential employees from retail, hospitality, education, and service industries cannot afford to live where they work? Can we break cycles of generational housing insecurity, empower “move-up buyers,” or accommodate the housing life cycle so people can stay in the neighborhoods in which they’ve put down roots without adequate options?  

Simply: No. The organizations and individuals who support attainable housing recognize these fundamental — and evidence-based — truths and that these initiatives benefit everyone in the community. 

Partners In Change 

When it comes to an issue as complex as housing, no one entity has all the answers. Instead, we depend on a diversity of perspectives and experiences. From nonprofits to professionals in the real estate world, from grassroots advocates to builders, solutions depend on the intersection of interests and initiative.  

For example, some of the biggest proponents of attainable housing are large-volume builders. Many engage in proactive education and training around the issue. Why? When they plan a new community, for example, builders have done their homework. They have conducted background research on demographics, local household income, affordability factors per capita; they’ve located a zone or municipality where they believe they can build homes that these buyers can afford to purchase.   

When builders are hit with increasingly stringent government regulations (some of which are just and necessary; others of which verge on unfair and inequitable) and aesthetic standards that drive the cost of homes up, it makes it exceedingly difficult to achieve that goal. 

Yes, builders have an interest, a stake in the game, if you will. They want to build products they can sell. But the byproduct of that, and in no way incompatible, is that they create safe, beautiful homes that more Hoosiers can access. They set the stage for move-up buyers in that municipality, and a healthy housing cycle can continue. 

It Takes a Village 

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to… well, create a strong, thriving village. Who else supports attainable housing?  

  • Nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity. People who face housing insecurity are less likely to be healthy and more likely to experience higher levels of stress and depression. Trade-offs such as rent/mortgage or food/heat/transportation are the reality for many hard-working folks. Habitat works with families to help them acquire the access, skills and financial education necessary for them to be successful homeowners. By partnering with us, families seize the opportunity and possibility that decent, affordable housing represents. Through shelter, we empower.” 
  • Professional organizations like MIBOR. MIBOR REALTOR® Association represents over 8500 central Indiana’s REALTORS®. According to a recent survey, the majority of members support local government proposals to revise development regulations that would clear the road for more attainable housing. 
  • Cross-disciplinary networks like ULI. The Urban Land Institute, a vast network of real estate and land use experts, is a vocal advocate for attainable housing. A recent report states: “It is as important as ever for the industry to build all types of housing, and especially to find ways to build nonsubsidized housing for middle-class buyers. Ultimately, this type of housing — attainable housing — will relieve the current downward pressure on the market that has kept renters from becoming homeowners and has made housing increasingly unaffordable for Americans at lower income levels.” 
  • Hopeful Homeowners. A ULI report finds that attainable housing represents 60% of demand in some markets; supply is nowhere near keeping pace. There is a disconnect between what buyers want and what is available. ULI says that “today’s home buyers don’t care about having four or five bedrooms. Instead, they would rather have amenities such as a restaurant, fitness center, farmer’s market or nature trail nearby.” They also prioritize walkability and convenient access to services, jobs, retail, transportation, schools, etc. Attainable housing looks to create a variety of options, from single-family homes on smaller lots and bungalows to townhomes, duplexes, and triplexes. Building higher-density neighborhoods that offer the walkability and amenities people want is a key part of the solution. 

Who should support attainable housing? State and local authorities and their taxpayers. The fact is that diverse housing options have a direct impact on the economic health and development of communities. Per the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Fiscal Impact Study, for example, the one-year impact of single-family home construction is equal to $308 million in income for Indiana residents, $219 million in taxes, and 4040 jobs. Annual impacts are equal to $38.4 million in income for Indiana residents, $11.7 million in taxes/revenue, and 745 jobs. 

Building Stronger Communities… Together  

No one entity has all the answers; together, though, we have the opportunity to affect significant, and sustainable, change in our communities. We owe it to ourselves to build a stronger Indiana. Learn how you can get involved at Build Indiana Roots.