Hickory – As the nation rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated a pre-existing housing affordability crisis, Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley (Habitat Catawba Valley) is calling on congressional leaders to commit to major investments in housing production, neighborhood revitalization and housing equity as they consider infrastructure spending.
Habitat Catawba Valley acknowledges that some progress in this direction has already been made, and is grateful for the bipartisan congressional support of bills including the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (S.98 & H.R. 2143) and the Restoring Communities Left Behind Act (H.R. 816).
“Our message is clear: housing IS infrastructure. Funding for vital housing and community development programs in an infrastructure package will begin to unlock economic recovery,” said Habitat Catawba Valley Executive Director Mitzi Gellman. “These investments will also increase the supply and preservation of affordable homes while creating jobs, remediating urgent health hazards, and narrowing our nation’s racial wealth gap.”
While working to build and rehabilitate homes for low-income families in Catawba County, Habitat Catawba Valley has witnessed firsthand the need for increased resources. Due to explosion of the local housing market, minimum wage earners must work 2 full-time jobs or earn double the $7.25 an hour minimum wage in order to afford the current average rent of a 2-bedroom apartment in Hickory. Additionally, the current median home value in Catawba County is $192,000 according to Zillow. To afford this, a family must earn an income of $17.52 an hour, without missing a single day of work all year. At the time of this writing, there are only 32 houses for sale at or below this value in all of Catawba County. These housing costs are simply out of reach for many of the families who partner with Habitat Catawba Valley. Further support is needed to address the growing housing affordability crisis, now worsened by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Habitat urges Congress to prioritize these housing investments to ensure no community is left behind as we rebuild from the pandemic. These are key priorities of Habitat’s national advocacy campaign – Cost of Home – which is working across the nation to find policy solutions that will help 10 million people have access to affordable homes. Habitat Catawba Valley and more than 560 local Habitat organizations wrote a letter to congressional leadership calling for these priorities to be included in an infrastructure package. Habitat for Humanity is asking community members to add support by telling members of Congress why investments in housing are needed now.
For more information about Habitat Catawba Valley, please visit https://habitatcatawbavalley.org