St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center applauds the release recently of a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission that offered bold recommendations for strengthening the availability of homeownership and rental housing choices at all stages of a person’s life. The report follows the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression that has affected the housing future of young and old alike.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) four main policy proposals around sustainable homeownership, an improved housing finance system, stronger rental housing assistance and performance measurement, and a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of our nation’s seniors, make broad sense for the many families in our communities who are struggling to achieve homeownership or obtain affordable rental properties. The report also underscored the importance of quality housing counseling that is included in the BPC report.
Quality housing counseling is extremely important to the stability of the housing market, both ownership and rental. We’ve seen in our own business that housing counseling provided by trained and certified professionals can help consumers make sound financial decisions for the long-run.
In 2012, St. Ambrose provided housing counseling to over 400 prospective homebuyers. Due to the generous incentive programs in Baltimore, the low mortgage interest rates and affordable housing values, the agency expects the demand for quality housing counseling to continue well into 2013. As a member of the NeighborWorks network, St. Ambrose contributed to the more than 121,000 people provided housing counseling by NeighborWorks organizations last year.
Renter’s Need Homes, Too!!
According to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and emphasized in the BPC’s report, nearly half of renters at all income levels pay more than the federal standard of 30 percent of their income for rent.
The Housing Commission’s rental recommendations go far in helping families obtain quality, affordable rental housing where current markets and assistance do not meet the need. Moreover, it’s important to note that much more work and coordination has to occur to help ensure that as many households that need assistance receive the quality, affordable housing that they deserve.
St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center owns and manages 307 rental homes in the Baltimore area. Overall, members of the NeighborWorks network own or manage nearly 100,000 rental homes, the majority of which are affordable to families with very low and low incomes.
A lot has to happen before the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission report recommendations are implemented. However, the report is a big step forward for making all types of housing more affordable and accessible for not only families in Baltimore, but for families all across the country.
To read the report, http://bipartisanpolicy.org/library/report/housing-america%E2%80%99s-future-new-directions-national-policy