Affordability is a problem that continues to plague the housing market, and developers are building housing that is out of reach for America's low-income population. For every 100 extremely low-income households, there are only 29 affordable, non-slum apartments on the market reports Fast Company writer Adele Peters.
A new interactive game from the Urban Institute (created with the National Housing Conference) illustrates why it's so un-affordable to build affordable housing. The new game lets anyone play with the numbers, which are based on real data from projects in Denver.
"I kept getting hearing, 'I can't believe the private market can't solve this problem,'" says Erika Poethig, director of urban policy initiatives at the Urban Institute. "The motivation behind doing this was to have a way for people to try to solve this problem for themselves, to understand the tradeoffs that are made by developers . . . what's in their control and what's out of their control," she says.
There's only one way to win the game: You need public subsidies to help cover costs. Unfortunately, while the number of the lowest-income households has grown, subsidies haven't. Until that changes, there won't be enough affordable housing.