June is National Homeownership Month, and the topic of homeownership has never been more critical. One of the lessons 2020 taught us as a country is that everyone needs a safe, affordable and secure home to shelter in when required. Unfortunately, for many families during the COVID-19 lockdown, the available assistance and resources were not enough to cover the deficit of loss of jobs, work availability and the shortage of needed products. The outcome was many families having to choose between utilities and food.
Even before COVID, this has been an ongoing struggle for many. So many family providers are working more than the standard 40-hour work week, many with multiple jobs, and are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. This issue comes from the monthly rent being more than half of their monthly take-home. When rent is too large of a percentage of your income, it’s impossible to juggle the remaining necessities. When forced to choose between rent, food and healthcare, many families are at a loss. Affordable housing is essential.
Every child deserves a full belly and access to nutritious food. However, in order for that to happen, their caretakers need access to grocery stores and have the resources to purchase quality food, but most lower-cost rentals are in food deserts. As a result, getting to a grocery store costs more in gas and is harder on vehicles.
More than 300 local and state Habitat organizations, including Knoxville Habitat for Humanity, are working toward policy solutions to address the need for home affordability in their communities, states and nationwide through the Cost of Home campaign.
You can help change this reality for families by donating, volunteering or writing to your government to ask for funding for affordable housing. Visit our Support and Volunteer pages to see how you can get started!