MENUMENU

Current Issue

Housing

About Housing

Housing affordability and stability are foundational elements of financial security that millions of US households lack, often forcing lower-income families to make painful tradeoffs between housing and other basic needs.

About Housing

● Summary

Housing affordability and stability are essential elements of households’ financial security. Rent or mortgage payments are generally the largest regular expense families must manage. Where a family lives, in what conditions, and how much of their income they must devote to housing affects their job opportunities, earnings, other costs of living, health, educational opportunities, and more. Experiencing housing instability—which can include overcrowded living conditions, multiple moves during a short period, eviction, and displacement, among other forms—has profoundly negative impacts on adults’ employment and children’s cognitive and social development and education outcomes. In contrast, for low-income households, having stable housing that they can afford contributes to greater financial security and wellbeing than those who are housing cost-burdened or experiencing instability.

Today, households face significant and rapidly growing housing costs, while income growth has not kept up. Over the past three decades, median rents and median home prices have grown at rates significantly higher than inflation and wage growth. In 2018, one in three US households were housing cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income for housing. The problem is most acute for low-income households, three in four of whom are cost-burdened.

EPIC has selected housing affordability and stability as our next issue because it is increasingly difficult to have financial security if housing is too expensive or unstable. The need has never been greater for the lowest-earning families and these challenges are increasingly common among the middle class. As one EPIC expert survey respondent put it, “Housing insecurity is coming up in nearly every conversation. It is not typically seen as a financial inclusion or access issue (except homeownership) and yet the proportion of a household balance sheet that is taken up by this expense is growing in ways that simply must be addressed.”

EPIC’s work is supported by the Annie E. Casey FoundationMetLife FoundationPrudential Financial, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and by the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program’s other core funders.

● Foundational Brief

● The Housing Timeline

Latest News

ADVISORY BOARD

FULL PROFILE

Luke Apicella has spent his entire career as an impact investor and specializes in affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure...

FULL PROFILE

George Carter is a Survey Statistician and works in the Division of PD&R that oversees HUD-sponsored surveys collected by the U.S. Census Bureau...

FULL PROFILE

Robert Dietz, Ph.D., is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), where his responsibilities include housing and economic forecasting, industry surveys, and housing policy...

FULL PROFILE

Stacey Epperson is a native of rural Kentucky and has worked in affordable housing throughout her career. In 2011, she founded Next Step Network and committed to Manufactured Housing Done Right– which prepares and supports homebuyers to buy better homes with...

FULL PROFILE

Ingrid Gould Ellen is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center. Her research centers on neighborhoods, housing, and residential segregation...

FULL PROFILE

Mike Loftin is the CEO of Homewise, an innovative social enterprise based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Homewise has pioneered a ferociously customer-centric business model for creating moderate-income homeowners. This model vertically integrates all the steps for...

FULL PROFILE

Jeffrey Lubell is the Director of Housing and Community Initiatives at Abt Associates where he oversees and provides senior-level guidance on a range of projects related to affordable housing, financial capability, asset-building, and community development. From...

FULL PROFILE

Alanna McCargo is vice president of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she focuses on...

FULL PROFILE

Jud Murchie leads policy research and strategy for Wells Fargo’s Government Relations and Public Policy team. In this role, Jud supports the team in identifying public policy issues and establishing policy positions. In this role, Jud supports the team in identifying public policy...

FULL PROFILE

As Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at The Michaels Organization, Milton R. Pratt Jr. focuses on pipeline growth and improving asset performance by managing relationships with various governmental and industry groups. Milton is charged with maintaining...

FULL PROFILE

Vincent Reina is an Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania.  His research focuses on urban economics, housing policy, housing stability, and neighborhood change. Reina's work has been published in various...

FULL PROFILE

Sherry is the Founder and Executive Director of Compass Working Capital (“Compass”), a nonprofit financial services organization with a mission to support families with low incomes to build assets and financial capabilities as a pathway to greater economic opportunity...

FULL PROFILE

Shamus Roller is the Executive Director of the National Housing Law Project (NHLP). NHLP is a national legal and advocacy center working to strengthen and enforce the rights of tenants, increase housing opportunities for underserved communities, and preserve and...

FULL PROFILE

Jenny Schuetz is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. She is an expert in urban economics and housing policy, focusing particularly on housing affordability. Jenny has written extensively on land use regulation...

FULL PROFILE

Kristin Siglin is currently Vice President of Policy and Partnerships at the National Community Stabilization Trust, responsible for NCST’s advocacy that advances policies to help communities address blight and high rates of vacant, abandoned and distressed properties...

FULL PROFILE

Celia Smoot is currently a Vice President at National Affordable Housing Trust focused on various duties including providing technical support to nonprofit organizations and managing Y15 dispositions...

FULL PROFILE

Cindy Waldron is director of research analytics and modeling in the Single-Family Affordable Lending and Access to Credit division. Her responsibilities include researching the evolving needs of the affordable and underserved markets, providing leadership and coordination...

FULL PROFILE

Barry Zigas became Director of Housing for Consumer Federation of America in 2008.  He is responsible for CFA’s policies on housing and mortgage finance including secondary market systems, foreclosure and loan modification policies, and community reinvestment...

EPIC is an initiative of the Aspen Institute's Financial Security Program.

CONTACT US:

The Aspen Institute

2300 N Street, NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037
Financial Security Program  |   The Aspen Institute  |  2300 N Street, NW Suite 700 Washington, DC 20037
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • E-Mail
  • Phone
  • Directions

Privacy Policy   |   Legal

© The Aspen Institute 2017—All Rights Reserved

Privacy Policy   |   Legal

Share This