SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Habitat for Humanity is using a new approach to address the nationwide housing crisis.
Habitat says it knows it can’t build its way out of the problem.
Instead, it’s using a new campaign called Cost of Home to address the underlying factors keeping families from finding affordable housing.
Habitat says it’ll be speaking with lawmakers and other organizations to collaborate and look at changing current policies.
A person making minimum wage right now in Springfield would have to work over 60 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental home.
That’s according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.
“In Missouri, one out of ten people spend half of their income on housing,” said Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Springfield Larry Peterson. “That means that they’re not able to spend money on nutritious food, reliable transportation, or education for their children.”
Peterson said rather than simply building homes, the organization is now working to identify barriers to accessing affordable housing.
“A house isn’t just a building it’s the people who live in it, the neighborhood around it and the community around that and in there are communities of opportunity,” said Peterson.
Peterson said the majority of the people he sees applying for habitat homes have little to no credit.
But, he said there are resources out there that can help.
“They’ve got a student debt, or they’ve got a medical debt, but we can usually work around them,” said Peterson. “There are accesses to resources that they are just not aware of.”
Michelle Garand of Community Partnership of the Ozarks said it’s important to work to keep families out of poverty.
“Getting into the house is really just the first step,” said Garand.”