Column: The Quad-Cities needs more affordable housing

Earlier this fall, I had the privilege of serving as emcee for the Affordable Housing Solutions Summit hosted by the Quad Cities Housing Council, a coalition of diverse community leaders working together to address the affordable housing crisis in our region. At the Quad Cities Community Foundation, we see participating in sustained efforts like this — efforts to address issues that no one person or organization can tackle on their own — as a crucial part of our work. This morning, I’d like to share some of what we’ve learned from being part of this group and its work on an issue so many in our community care about.

First, there is an affordable housing crisis in the Quad Cities. While the pandemic has only made it worse, this crisis grows out of several long-term trends: rents rising faster than household incomes, affordable apartments falling into disrepair and closing, and units that were once affordable becoming increasingly expensive. The result? A gap of 6,645 units that are safe, decent, and affordable for the more than 15,000 households in the Quad Cities with extremely low incomes.

Numbers like that can be hard to take in. But bring it down to the level of an individual family who is being asked to make impossible choices about how to stretch its budget, and the traumatic toll of the crisis becomes clearer. Consider what it means for that family’s well-being to face housing instability that bumps them from home to home. They frequently change school districts. They lose their belongings and connections when they have to move unexpectedly. They pay for storage units while staying with extended family or friends. They risk — or experience — homelessness.

Region: Northern,Columns,City: Quad Cities,Region: QC,Opinion

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November 2, 2021 at 01:37AM

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