Affordable housing is one of the most important social issues of our time. It is a basic necessity for human survival, and it has a direct impact on our health, education, and overall quality of life.
Every two years through a collaborative effort between the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield-Greene County Library District, the Junior League of Springfield, and the United Way of the Ozarks, a community focus report is released as a report card for Springfield and Greene County. In the most recent report (2021), both housing instability and a shortage of safe, affordable housing were listed as “red flag issues.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, a collaborate spirit and civic engagement were both listed as “blue ribbons” within the housing area on the report.
Below we discuss the importance of this issue and why it is crucial for the Springfield community to invest in it.
Improving Health and Education Outcomes
A safe, stable, and affordable home provides the foundation for a healthy and productive life. Studies have shown that children who grow up in affordable housing have improved health outcomes and higher educational attainment. When families don’t have to worry about paying rent, they have more money for food, healthcare, and educational expenses, which leads to improved well-being and increased opportunities for success.
Affordable housing is essential in reducing homelessness. When people are unable to afford a place to live, they are at risk of becoming homeless. There are roughly 2,500 homeless people in Springfield, MO. This is not only a humanitarian crisis but also a social and economic problem, as homelessness has a negative impact on Springfield’s economy and health. At Habitat Springfield, we know that providing affordable housing helps people stay in their homes, as well as helping to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place.
Strengthening the Local Economy
Affordable housing is not just about helping individuals and families, but it also benefits Springfield’s local economy. When people have a stable and affordable place to live, they are more likely to participate in the economy, as they have more disposable income. This stimulates economic growth and creates jobs, which in turn creates a stronger and more vibrant Springfield community.
Encouraging Diversity and Inclusion
Stable shelter promotes diversity and inclusion by making it possible for people from different income levels and backgrounds to live together. By having affordable housing in Springfield, we will be able to create a more diverse and vibrant community, which leads to increased understanding, cooperation, and social harmony.
In conclusion, affordable housing is a crucial social issue that should not be overlooked. It is essential for improving health and education outcomes, reducing homelessness, strengthening the local economy, and promoting diversity and inclusion. Governments, businesses, and individuals all have a role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to affordable housing. By investing in affordable housing, we can create a better and more equitable society for all.