ince 2011, median home prices have increased by nearly 70 percent while per capita income went up by only 11 percent. Now, Deanna Rolffs, vice president of housing and family services at ICCF, has a waitlist of more than 700 families who are in need of safe, affordable housing. Going into 2019, she thinks community leadership and collaboration could be the key to solving the region’s housing crisis.
What’s happening to decrease the number of families who are waiting for housing?
One of the keys to affordable housing is increased density. I firmly believe that a very large percentage of the homeless crisis and of families finding themselves homeless is due to a lack of affordable housing. It’s not chronic homelessness. It’s not other very long-term factors at play. Most of the families that we support that are experiencing homelessness are working at least one or two full-time jobs. They’re working at Spectrum Health. They’re working in factories. They’re earning above minimum wage or right around minimum wage, but they cannot afford the housing prices.