85% of the Public Believes that Ensuring Affordable Homes For All A Top Priority

In the Northeast, 64% say Housing Affordability is a Serious Problem Where They Live; Congress and President Should Take Major Action

On March 28, at the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) Housing Policy Forum, the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign released the results of a national public opinion poll. The poll found that vast majority of the public (85%) believes that ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to live should be a “top national priority.”

This view is strong across the political spectrum – from 95% of Democrats agreeing it should be a top national priority to 87% of independents to 73% of Republicans. Eight in ten also say that both the president and Congress should “take major action” to make housing more affordable for low-income households. The Campaign recently commissioned the poll through Hart Research Associates

“This poll is a call to action,” said Mike Koprowski, National Campaign Director of Opportunity Starts at Home. “A stronger federal response to the housing affordability crisis is long overdue. Without question, these results show that elected officials indeed have a mandate from the public to take bold action.”

While people in the United States almost unanimously agree that stable affordable housing is very important or one of the most important things that affect security and well-being, they are increasingly concerned about the rising costs of housing. In fact, 60% say housing affordability is a serious problem in the area where they live, which is up 21 points from 2016. In the Northeast, 64% say housing affordability is a serious problem and 78% say its harder today to find affordable housing.

“The overwhelming support for solutions to the housing affordability crisis is clear, as is the extraordinary need,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of NLIHC. “We have the data, the solutions, the public support, and, as a country, the resources to end homelessness and housing poverty. We lack only the political will to do so, but that too is growing.”

Eighty-nine percent of the public says that it is a “big problem” when people have to spend more than half of their monthly income to pay for housing. Moreover, 61% say that they themselves have had to make at least one sacrifice in the past three years because they were struggling to pay for housing, such as taking on an additional job, cutting back on healthy food, stopping retirement savings, cutting back on materials or out-of-school activities that support their child’s learning, skipping other important bills like electricity or water, and cutting back on healthcare.

The public is eager for elected leaders to take action. Ninety percent of people believe that as one of the most prosperous nations in the world, we should do more to prevent homelessness and 68% think the government is doing too little to make sure there are enough affordable places for people to live. Greater than eight in 10 (83%) agree that elected officials are not paying enough attention to the cost of housing and the need for more affordable housing.

The poll also reveals that the public expects solutions: in fact, 78% say government has an important role to play in making sure there are enough affordable places to live (including 91% of Democrats, 76% of independents, and 62% of Republicans). Four in five people in the United States agree that Congress (80%) and the president (78%) should “take major action” to make housing more affordable for low-income households.

Click here for the full press release from Opportunity Starts at Home.

Click here for a more in-depth fact sheet of the poll results.

Click here to view the full national survey report.

Click here to learn more about and join the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign.

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