Myers Housing/Homelessness Q1
The affordability problem is founded on an acute shortage of supply, which drives up rents and house prices. The public does not grasp the shortage because they don’t know why demand has grown so much. It is not from greater migration. Demand surged after 2010 the Millennials came of age and tried to form households. In addition, diverted homeowners from the drop in homeownership had the untimely effect of throwing more middle income people into rental competition. Despite the burgeoning demand and high prices, home building never fully recovered from the financial crisis and recession. It’s a pressure cooker. The link to homelessness is that rents on low-priced rentals have escalated out of reach, and also because the underlying shortage makes it difficult for service providers to find properties they can use to create housing for homeless people.
What is different between homelessness and affordability is that no one likes homelessness but a majority of owners actually welcome rising home prices and the lack of affordability because this increases their wealth as homeowners. Crying “affordability” does not motivate them to help find a solution. Another difference is that affordability problems may not be the principal cause of homeless status for most homeless people. Only a portion are living on the street in vehicles or “living rough” for lack of enough income to make the ever-higher required rent. There are many additional reasons for homelessness outside the housing realm.