By Gretchen Greiner-Lott
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Why should you care about housing? Well, during yesterday’s snow event, I had some time to think about that a bit. Although we were all stuck at home together, my family and I still had light, heat, and shelter from the elements, as well as access to stores. But some people I know were not that lucky. It made me think about all the things that many of us take for granted that are essential to a strong, healthy, and connected community.
Because I have lived in my neighborhood for some years, I know my neighbors. I know who is sick or elderly and might need some help during the snow. I also know who might be able to assist me, if the need should arise. For those folks in our region whose housing situation is different – they move from place to place in search of a more affordable housing situation or the affordable situation they find lands them in a not so safe neighborhood – their community experiences are very different. They are not connected or supported.
“What does this have to do with me?” you might ask. Everything.
Whether you are a funder of health clinics, a nonprofit provider of educational programs, a growing business trying to attract new employees, or a local government working to spur economic growth and vitality, housing impacts everything you do to support your community. Without the basic starting point of having a safe and stable place to call home, many individuals will have a harder time achieving other life goals.
According to research from the National Housing Conference, low- and moderate-income people without decent, affordable housing are more likely to have negative health consequences and poor education outcomes for their children. It is also harder for people to get to work and be reliable employees when their housing situation changes again and again – or for children to keep up with much less meet academic standards when they move from school to school.
Everything that this region wants to achieve – improvements in health status and educational outcomes, job growth, a strong economy, transportation and smart growth advancements, and more – depends on having a healthy continuum of housing that serves everyone from extremely low-income renters to moderate-income first-time home buyers so that folks can live in stable and supportive environments.
|On March 21st, we hope you’ll join us for WRAG’s first installment of this year’s Brightest Minds series. Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros will talk about how local funders, nonprofits, businesses, and governments can engage in a collective, multi-sector way to meet the housing needs of our region’s residents. For all the reasons list above, you can’t afford to miss it. [Registration.]|