After 1945, the end of the Second World War marked a time for change within the housing industry. As soldiers returned home from war, white, middle-class Americans migrated towards the suburbs. This trend pretty much stayed the same until it started to shift. Now, the white suburbanites are looking to move back into the city which in turn increasing the cost of living which then forces low and middle income citizens, as well as people of color, to go into the suburbs. This displacement is causing more and more city residents to find affordable housing options. However, luckily there are options that are available!
1. Accessory Dwelling Units
These are more commonly referred to as “mother-in-law” apartments because they are units that have been created in spaces that normally would only for one unit. Think of a multi story family home. The upstairs can be renovated to be a separate apartment away from the rest of the home. However, there are also other ways that mother-in-law style houses can be made! There can also be guest houses and converted garages. These homes offer the luxury of your own space in a place that normally wouldn’t while keeping costs low.
2. Community Land Trusts
This is a type of nonprofit organization that has made it their mission to develop affordable housing that permanently stays within a community. The goal of this organization is to create stable and affordable housing opportunities for low income families. It is able to do this by removing the cost of land out of the speculative market! This organization also specializes in improving areas as a whole so you will see community land trust commercial buildings, gardens, green spaces, rural projects, green spaces and many more.
This is typically when multiple residents pool their money together to buy an entire apartment building (or duplex or triple) and each live in one unit. This is able to provide affordable housing because residents are able to save money on not only the cost of the home, but as well as other expenses. However, in order for a cooperative to work, there needs to be carefully planned and perfectly executed organizing so that everyone has a fair deal. Usually there are housing cooperatives that already available, but if you can’t find one then you can start one yourself!
4. Public Housing
There are many misconceptions about public housing, however it is important to realize that public housing isn’t as bad as the stigma makes it seem. Public housing offers assistance to low income families in need by working with them to provide affordable rent. This type of housing is also offered in many areas and can be found nearly anywhere. There are many different types, but unfortunately due to how helpful this program is, there tend to be long waitlists!
5. Micro Houses
This is an umbrella term that includes mobile homes, tiny houses, shipping containers, cottages, and more. This is a type of affordable housing that is made affordable because of the size of the space that the resident will be living in. Not only are they more inexpensive than normal housing they also save money as a whole because they are energy efficient and also enforce lifestyle changes that can save a person money.
6. Tiny Apartments
Similar to micro housing, tiny apartments offer a huge amount of living density in cities. These apartments are typically between 100 to 200 feet and can even be smaller! While this alternative is definitely not for everybody, it can offer a huge amount of savings which can really be helpful when extremely necessary.
7. Senior Community Housing
This alternative affordable housing is meant specially for the elderly. The goal of this housing is to promote community interaction as well as keeping safety, and location in mind. Ages of these communities can vary but typically residents must be at least 55 years old. However, that just means one person of the family needs to be over 55, an elderly person can have other family members that don’t reach the age requirements!
8. Modular Housing
This type of housing is a bit peculiar. It offers housing/units in buildings that were originally meant for something else like a factory. Not only are these homes cheaper to construct, they are also cheaper to live in. These also don’t necessarily need to be huge spaces like a factory, it can also be in smaller spaces like driveways, parking spaces, and garages. Whether a huge renovation factory or a small, prefabricated home, you have options with affordable modular housing!
9. Living with people
A very smart way to reduce the cost of bills is to get a roommate. You will be able to cut expenses in half if you have a roommate and by even more if you have multiple roommates! You save money on rent, utilities, and even other expenses like groceries because multiple people will be contributing money towards those expenses.
10. Work at a Place Where You can Live
This is exactly what it is. You can exchange work in order for a place to live, whether that’s on a ranch, as a caregiver, as a maid, as a pet-sitter, as a farmer, there are many options for when it comes to work trade living. Not only will you be able to have a place to live with either highly reduced rent or no rent at all, you will also be paid normally on top of that, so you will be able to save a significant amount of money. In order to best handle this situation having clear communication as well as contracts are best to ensure that no one is left dealing with any issues.
Overall, affordable housing options are available. You just need to know where to find them! You can also go speak to your local housing authority in order to see what type of affordable housing options are available in your area.