Affordable Housing 101

Myths of Affordable Housing

MYTH: Affordable Housing is Ugly

TRUTH: The affordable housing being built today is designed to fit the community character in size and style. It is privately owned, designed, and developed. Affordable housing must comply with the same building restrictions and design standards as market-rate housing.


MYTH: Affordable Housing Creates More Traffic

TRUTH: Building affordable housing near jobs supports the increased use of public transportation, shortens commutes, and lessens congestion. Studies show that affordable housing residents own fewer cars and drive less often than those in the surrounding neighborhood.  And when families can afford housing, they do not need to “double up” to pay rent.


MYTH: Affordable Housing Increases Crime

TRUTH: There is no correlation between safe, decent, affordable housing and crime. Studies show that crime is more often due to community disinvestment, overcrowding, and a lack of jobs and community services. When affordable housing is developed in inner cities and older neighborhoods, it replaces deteriorated and crime-ridden buildings and can even serve to reduce the neighborhood crime rate.


MYTH: Affordable Housing Overburdens Schools and Infrastructure

TRUTH: Studies show that traditional single- family home neighborhoods have 2 to 3 times the number of school- aged children than those residing in apartments. Higher density housing also provides economies of scale for utility infrastructure in trunk lines and treatment plants. Infrastructure costs per housing unit significantly decline as density increases.


MYTH: Affordable Housing Lowers Property Values

TRUTH: Studies have found that affordable housing often has an insignificant or positive effect on property values in higher- valued neighborhoods and typically improves values in lower- valued neighborhoods.


MYTH: Affordable Housing Is Not A Community Asset

TRUTH: Affordable housing is an asset to the community and part of the solution to some of our problems. When it is located near jobs or public transit, it reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality. It reduces overcrowding. It helps restore a competitive business climate. It enables lower paid workers to avoid housing instability and the need for public benefits. It enables individuals to stabilize their lives so they can pursue jobs and gain access needed services.