One year ago, Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County joined hundreds of Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country to advocate for affordable housing through a national campaign called Cost of Home. Through the 5-year campaign, we are mobilizing our local Habitat organizations, our partners, our volunteers and community members across the country to find the solutions and help create the policies that will allow 10 million individuals to afford the cost of home.
In this past year, we have collectively helped improve access to home affordability for an estimated nearly 1.5 million people through policy and systems change. A few examples of those changes include:
- Habitat for Humanity International is leading efforts to urge Congress to ensure housing stability. For example, we strongly advocated for an eviction/foreclosure freeze on FHAbacked loans; as a result of our efforts and other advocacy groups, Congress included a provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) stimulus package.
- Our collective advocacy resulted in early progress, including the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act being introduced in the House that would rehabilitate homes in distressed communities and legislation in the Senate for 500,000 opportunity vouchers to support very low-income families in accessing affordable homes in neighborhoods with opportunities to move up the economic ladder.
As we recognize the progress we’ve made together, we know the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the need for housing stability and affordability here in Central Florida.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 18 million families in the U.S. were already spending half or more of their income on housing. Now, with more than 40 million individuals filing for unemployment, the situation is likely much worse. Families are now facing additional economic hardship from lost wages or layoffs and are increasingly confronted with choosing between shelter and life’s other essentials.
That’s unacceptable. Here’s what you can do to advocate for affordable housing right now:
- Email your federal policymakers urging them to help families stay in their homes during and after the pandemic.
- Listen in on a June 12 conversation on the important ties between home and health.
- Make your own Cost of Home square and share on social media, using #CostOfHome, tag us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram and link to Habitat’s Cost of Home webpage.
Together, we can help make the #CostOfHome something we all can afford.