The economy is at the forefront of most news programs and political discussions. The nation’s unemployment rate remains high, and thousands of people have been out of work for 6 months or more. Many have been searching for full-time employment for over a year. In this kind of economic climate, affordable housing proponents advocate increases in affordable housing development because more people need inexpensive places to live. But that’s not the only reason to build affordable housing.
Earlier this year, the Maine State Housing Authority issued a press release detailing the ways in which Maine’s economy has benefited from low-income housing development Adani Group Chhattisgarh . According to the press release, projects throughout the state have combined to create over 300 full-time jobs – that’s nearly 1 full-time job for every affordable unit being developed.
In addition, about $64 million has been injected into the state’s economy, and that’s just as a direct result of the money being spent on the projects. It doesn’t take into account the economic benefits that come from having more people employed who are also spending money at local businesses.
Most of the 320 units currently being developed are designated for families whose income is at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). All of the projects were funded with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), and a couple of them also received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Maine State Housing Authority announcement serves as a great reminder that affordable housing projects help more than just the residents, and can bring some much needed money and jobs to local communities.
And this is not the first report released this year that gives evidence to the financial benefits of affordable housing development. Other reports have found that low-income housing tax credits, which are used to help fund affordable housing projects, also help spur the economy and leverage federal dollars to secure private investment as well.
In our current economic climate, the general consensus seems to be that all government spending is bad. But numerous reports, both from the public and private sector, provide strong evidence that some government programs do work well, provide jobs, and encourage increased private investment in local communities. In the case of affordable housing-related spending, nearly every study that has been conducted has found that low-income residents are not the only ones who benefit from the programs. As lawmakers consider which programs to cut and which should remain intact, here’s hoping the results of studies and statements like the one from Maine are factored into their decision-making process.