According to a recent report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), Alabama is suffering a severe shortage of homes. Many of the homes that do exist in the state are either too expensive or are unfit for raising a family.
Alabama lacks decent and affordable homes for more than 95,000 working families, senior citizens, and individuals on a fixed income. The NLIHC report reveals that Alabama residents working a 40-hour week would have to earn at least $13.93 per hour in order to afford rent and utilities for a basic two-bedroom apartment. However, the typical renter in Alabama only makes approximately $11.64 per hour.
For residents earning minimum wage, they would have to work 77 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom accommodation.
Russel L. Bennett, the executive director of the Low Income Housing Coalition of Alabama (LIHCA), stated in an opinion piece on Al.com, “[Alabama] must invest state resources to create homes that are affordable for people who work long hours but earn very little.”
Bennett also explained that the average household in the state of Alabama is spending half of its income on rent, which does not leave enough money for food and health care.
“LIHCA and our partners are working to secure revenue for the Alabama Housing Trust Fund,” Bennett wrote. “This housing trust fund was designed as a flexible source of committed funding to address a local community’s most pressing housing needs. It could be used to construct and rehabilitate affordable homes, both for rental and home ownership opportunities.”
This is not simple or cheap undertaking. According to the 2015 “Cost vs. Value Report,” the cost of a minor kitchen remodel is, on average, $19,226. To build or remodel entirely new homes on a budget will not be easy.
According to Bennett, the fund was established in May of 2012, but Alabama’s elected officials have not yet put a single dollar into it, leaving it useless during the state’s worsening housing crisis.