Saturday, March 29, 2008

Low-income Housing and Affordable Housing

I am a housing counselor and for about the last 15 years I have served as the Director of Housing Services for the Woodbine Community Organization, a HUD approved non-profit housing counseling agency. Our organization belongs to a loosely associated organization called the Affordable Housing Forum. This organization includes developers, representatives of government agencies, realtors, mortgage companies, banks, non-profit organizations, and advocacy organizations. Anyone interested in the field of affordable housing is welcome to join. The organization serves a valuable purpose in educating those in the affordable housing field about new developments, in providing networking opportunities and in providing a forum to address the issues that surrounding our field.

For many years, the organization was know as the Low-income Housing Forum and then a few years ago, it was felt that there was a stigma associated with “Low-income housing” and the name was changed to “Affordable Housing”. I didn’t feel strongly about the issue, so did not take a position on the name change, but thought Low-income Housing Forum was a perfectly good name. Maybe there was some logic to changing the name, however. A lot of the public think “public housing” or “projects” when they hear the words “low-income housing” and our organization deals with concerns that range from homelessness to the issues associated with the barriers and policies that needlessly increase the cost of the development of almost all housing.

Just wait. I predict that in a few more years there will be a stigma associated with the term “affordable housing” and we will change the name to “Modest-income Housing Forum” or “Housing Challenges Forum” or some other name which does not yet have a stigma.

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