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Cities all across the United States are booming. By many accounts, it seems that this growth stems from the success of the economy. Unfortunately, many people are having a hard time keeping up with the latest housing trends. Regions with a shortage of affordable housing are quickly trying to find ways of expanding. Utah is no exception.

Utah is one of the fastest-growing areas in America. It is currently experiencing a housing shortage as many people flock to Utah for its employment opportunities and affordability compared to other states’ inflated housing prices. Luckily, local governments are using affordable housing as one of the leading solutions for helping those in need.

Every year, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) releases an annual report highlighting the gap between annual income and housing prices throughout the country. The NLIHC uses a “Housing Wage” to calculate the current numbers. In 2017, the organization found that affording a modest, two-bedroom rental home in the U.S. meant renters must have earned a wage of $21.21 per hour. Not only is that nearly 3 times higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, but it is also $4.83 higher than the average hourly wage of $16.38 earned by renters nationwide.

As the numbers prove, affordable housing is more critical than ever before, especially as upcoming elections loom. Here is how architectural firms can help.

Encourage Developers to Build Affordable Housing Communities

Leaders in the architecture industry hold more power than they realize. Key players can influence developers to get involved in the affordable housing movement thanks to their personal relationships. Architecture firms can do this by communicating the benefits of developing such communities. Some of these benefits include:

Economic Growth

By developing affordable housing communities, the economy will naturally grow. This is thanks to the increase in working families coming to live in affordable housing developments. The growing population will influence the further growth of school systems, businesses, and entirely new communities.

Decreased Segregation

Communities with affordable housing can help promote economic and social diversity. Well-placed housing developments allow lower- and middle-class families to live in areas that are typically inaccessible to them. By allowing access to these locations, developers will help welcome a more vibrant and diverse population.

Bettering the Environment

In areas of the state where housing is more expensive, the cost of living is too costly for those working essential jobs that benefit the community. A few of these careers include teaching, nursing, police officers, etc. When this happens, these workers must travel long distances many times a week, increasing smog, traffic, and burning fossil fuels. By providing additional affordable housing, people can work near their jobs and dramatically decrease the use of energy and pollution.

Develop New Creative Housing Solutions

Along with pushing developers to create new affordable housing options, architecture firms can dramatically change the future of its design. As the leaders of new design trends, architects can develop new solutions that are more efficient and cost-effective. When architects bring these developments to fruition, developers and local government will be more likely to put these communities to the test.

A few of the recent developments in these areas include Affordable Dwelling Units (ADUs). Most of these homes are city-based “Tiny Homes” based throughout popular cities. ADUs are a fantastic solution for family members, aging parents, students, and people who are starting in the housing market. In fact, many homeowners are adding these properties to their homes in an effort to earn money and increase their home’s value.

Another solution new to the scene is modular housing. Modular homes are residences built in a factory and transported to the property. These smaller dwellings are cheaper and capitalize on a location’s space. These homes exploit advanced construction techniques and are known for lasting longer than the traditional home.

It is through these solutions that affordable housing will continue to make headway across the nation. Listen carefully throughout the upcoming presidential campaigns, and you will probably hear a discussion on how governments plan on implementing such plans.

How Architects Can Help the Affordable Housing Movement

As architects who have worked on affordable housing projects, we understand the high demand Utahns have for affordable housing developments. Here is how you can help:

Push Lawmakers for Additional Funding

Contact your local representative and ask for their support on affordable housing projects in your area.

Support New Affordable Housing Projects

Support developers you know who are building affordable communities by asking them to maintain their excellence, value, and good design before, during, and after the projects are built.

Mix Affordable Housing into Current Projects

You don’t need to make your entire community affordable housing. You can blend in affordable housing with other projects, as well. You will even earn tax credits and stimulate the diversification of your communities.

Encourage Others

Affordable housing is in more demand than ever. Help push others in the industry to create projects that answer the needs of their area by encouraging them to get involved in affordable housing projects. You could also consider partnering with developers on specific affordable housing projects.

Learn more about our affordable housing projects by contacting Think Architecture today.