Marco Bitran Explains: Why Is Affordable Housing Necessary In Today’s Housing Market?
The 21st century has ushered in an era of unparalleled technological advancement and increasing globalization. At the same time, there has been a concurrent increase in income inequality across the globe. In fact, according to Weforum, 52% of the income goes to the richest 10% of the world population, while the poorest half received nothing. The rising crises and Covid-19 pandemic have further exacerbated the problem.
Income inequality is not only a moral issue. It is also an economic one. It creates social division political instability and can stunt economic growth. In the U.S., the lack of affordable housing is one of the critical drivers of income inequality.
Marco Bitran, an entrepreneur from Boston, MA, lights up when he talks about the city’s burgeoning tech scene. However, his face falls when he talks about the high cost of housing. “The average rent for a one-bedroom in downtown Boston is around $3,000 per month, and it’s only getting worse.”
Boston is not alone. The cost of housing is on the rise all over the world. In London, for example, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment has increased more than ever in the past years. This has created a serious affordability crisis, with many people unable to live in the city.
Some factors have led to the current housing crisis and made it increasingly difficult for low-income and moderate-income earners to afford a home.
● Globalization has led to the rise of the super-rich while wages for the middle and lower classes have remained stagnant or decreased in real terms.
● The rise of technology has resulted in job losses and the automation of jobs, contributing to income inequality and the housing crisis.
● The deregulation of the banking and mortgage industries in the U.S. has led to increased housing prices, especially in desirable areas.
● Tax policies that benefit the wealthy have also contributed to the widening wealth gap and housing crisis.
And in these challenging times, affordable housing is a necessity now more than ever. The good news is that there are many affordable housing programs available, and people should explore all their options before buying or renting a home. Some affordable housing options include:
Public Housing: This is government-subsidized housing for low-income families.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program: This program helps low-income families pay for private housing in the U.S.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC): This is a tax credit that developers can use to build or rehabilitate affordable rental housing.
Community Land Trust: This nonprofit organization acquires land and then leases it back to the community to create permanently affordable housing.
What We are Doing
Marco and his company are working with Madison Park, a local Community Development Corporation, to develop 65 affordable units on Warren Street, in Roxbury Massachusetts. If the project goes forward, it will offer approximately 21 affordable home ownership units, along with 44 affordable rental units. All of the rental units may be offered at the 60% AMI (Area Median Income) level. This development project is in conjunction with the Urban League or Eastern Massachusetts, who will receive new offices as part of this new construction.
Everyone Needs a Place to Call Home
We all know that a roof over our heads is a basic necessity for human beings. A home provides us with a sense of stability and security and is a place where we can raise our families and build our lives.
When people cannot afford to buy or rent a home, it creates instability in their lives and the community. This leads to health problems, as people are forced to live in overcrowded and unsafe conditions, causing social issues because people cannot participate in community life; and leading to economic problems.
Stability for Families and Individuals
When people have access to affordable housing, it takes a weight off their shoulders and focuses on other important things in their lives, such as getting an education or working a job. Children who live in affordable housing are more likely to do well in school and have better health outcomes than their parents.
Helping the Economy
The lack of affordable housing hurts people individually and has a negative impact on the economy as a whole. When people cannot afford to live in a city, they often have to move to a different area, which decreases economic activity in the city — promotes social division, political instability, and stunts economic growth.
Marco Bitran is a strong advocate of an economy that works for everyone. “We need to find a way to make sure that everyone, especially the middle and lower classes, can afford to live in our cities. If we don’t, then we will see a continued rise in inequality and stagnation of our economy.”
A strong community is inclusive and has various people from different backgrounds. Usually, this is only possible when people can afford to live in the same area. When housing is unaffordable, it creates segregated and unequal communities, leading to social tension and conflict, which can have long-term effects.
Marco Bitran believes “a better community has to do with everyone feeling like they have a stake in the community, and that’s only possible if people can afford to live there.”
No More Homeless People
It is always heartbreaking to see people living on the streets, especially when so many empty houses and apartments. This is a symptom of the more significant issue of homelessness, but with affordable housing, none of that would be necessary.
Marco Bitran is a real estate business developer in Boston, MA, who thinks everyone deserves a home. “Housing is a human right. Everyone should have access to quality, affordable housing no matter what their socioeconomic status is.” To build a better future, we need to consider housing a fundamental human right. Let’s work together to make it happen.