Affordable housing offers a vital step toward economic well-being and wealth creation for families with low and modest incomes. Both the supply and location of affordable housing are important. Nearby transit with good regional connections provides access to jobs, services, education, health care and other opportunities that enhance quality of life. This improved accessibility reduces household transportation costs and spreads limited income further.
In many communities, the introduction of high quality light rail transit has created development pressure in neighborhoods that have affordable housing stock. When new demand rises in a community, the neighborhood may see increased rents, home prices, and property taxes such that existing residents may find their neighborhood unaffordable. Teachers, truck drivers, cashiers, artists, beauticians, fire fighters and nurses may end up moving farther from transit options that were supposed to benefit them. Proactive planning and efforts to preserve and expand affordable housing can help new development support existing communities and limit involuntary displacement. The Funders Collaborative work has focused on activities to:
- Keep housing options available to residents at all income levels, now and in the future.
- Preserve existing affordable housing as much as possible.
- Minimize involuntary displacement of existing households.
- Encourage policies and incentives to include affordable housing units as part of new mixed-income development.
The Funders Collaborative supported one working group in this area and several other significant investments to support new affordable housing development opportunities, land acquisition, neighborhood stabilization, and greater understanding about the impacts of transit on housing and development.