VOICES: Not-for-profit housing organizations step in to offer affordable homes

Credit: Easterling Studios

Credit: Easterling Studios

The affordable housing crisis is nothing to be taken lightly. According to a 2021 Housing Needs Assessment by Bowen National Research, the City of Dayton has an affordable for-sale housing gap of over 4,600 units. That translates to 4,600 working class families that can’t find an affordable home to purchase and are forced to rent. Why is that a problem?

Per the study, 99.9% of all rental units in Montgomery County are occupied, so rents are skyrocketing. The average rent in Montgomery County for a 2-bedroom house is $930 and $1,217 for a 3-bedroom — and the upward trend is likely to continue. 60.9% of Dayton renter households have annual incomes below $30,000, making these rents completely out of reach. What do we do?

The Bowen Research study cites three key components to solving the crisis in Dayton: Incentivize building more affordable homes, invest in repairing and renovating current housing stock and provide down payment assistance for first-time home buyers.

If you’ve paid attention to new home prices in our area, you know that it’s nearly impossible to find one for less than $300,000. It’s understandable, though. Large national and local homebuilders must make a profit, and it’s more profitable to build more expensive homes if the market is there. That’s where not-for-profit housing organizations come in. We are able to offer new homes to families priced between $126,000 and $199,000, which Bowen identified as the greatest price gap in for-sale units in the Dayton area.

For 40 years, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton has been building new homes, renovating existing homes and providing opportunities for families to purchase them with a mortgage that’s truly affordable. Payments, including taxes and insurance are set at or below 30% of a family’s gross monthly income. We’re only able to do this because our community and corporate partners, individual donors, and municipal partners understand their investment makes affordability a reality. Their investment ultimately strengthens Dayton and comes back to the community paid through property taxes, school levies and income taxes that stay local.

Habitat and other area non-profits also help preserve existing homes by providing critical repairs for homeowners. Replacing a roof, furnace or water heater is an investment that keeps the home affordable for the current homeowner. It also protects its value and makes it more attractive for a first-time homeowner to purchase because they won’t that large maintenance expense to worry about.

Many Dayton-area banks, credit unions and mortgage companies have first-time homebuyer programs that provide down-payment assistance for income-qualified families. Many times, the assistance covers all or most of the up-front costs needed to buy a home.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton is committed to doing all we can to solve the affordable housing crisis in Clark, Greene, and Montgomery Counties. If you’d like to be a part of the solution, please visit daytonhabitat.org.

Norman Miozzi is the Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton and serves on the Montgomery County Housing Advisory Board, the Fairborn Housing Advisory Committee, and the Dayton Housing Roundtable Development Subcommittee.

Housing affordability in the Miami Valley

Jessie Gooding

As rents continue to climb across the region and many local residents find themselves working in occupations that on average do not pay enough for them to afford modest rental units, affordable housing is becoming an increasingly important issue for our communities and communities across the nation. New housing and commercial developments are planned across our region and each one sparks heated debate among residents who will live near them, the developers of these projects and civic leaders who must balance the needs of existing residents with growing the local economy and attracting newcomers.

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