Housing We Can Afford?
Throughout 2013, CEDAM recorded stories from nine people and families across Michigan about their ability to find housing they could afford. Many of these stories are characterized by sudden life changes that resulted in a struggle to find a place where rent did not cost 80-100% of monthly income. Some interviewees lived out of their car or cheap motels; others moved in with relatives or ended up in nursing homes. The demand for housing priced at the lower end of the market is high, the supply is limited and the wait is years long. This is why people are homeless in our country. The message is clear: we need to find a way to create more affordable housing.
CEDAM supports the United for Homes Campaign as a way to do this through national policy.
Clint has an incomplete spinal cord injury. He has been in a nursing home ever since leaving the hospital a year ago because the accessible apartments he could afford are all full. Affordable housing means a chance for a faster recovery.
Sharon is a Peer Support Specialist for the State of Michigan. She has been homeless off and on throughout her life and is currently living in her own apartment. She worked with her landlord to pay rent based on her income, but she is not sure how long this arrangement will last.
Heidi is on the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council and lives in market-rate housing. She splits the cost with her roommate, but at one point a decrease in income put them on the verge of homelessness for 8 months.
Before their affordable home, Nathan lived in transitional housing and Tonica and Saniia lived out of the car and with Tonica’s parents.
Cylis lived in a co-op created to address the lack of affordable housing in his community. He now rents a home.
After completing college, Lauren lived at home for the 3 years she was on a volatile waiting list for housing.
Cortez was homeless. He now lives at the NSO Bell Building, is part of the tenant counsel and plans to find employment.
Terry searched for a place he could afford for two years. He spent the second one in a nursing home, as there were no other options. A month after this interview, Terry was finally able to move into an apartment where he now lives independently.