Generational poverty has long been the chief obstacle for families in our region to overcome. Still today, 15% of the people in the four counties we serve live on $10,000 a year or less, and 42% live on $25,000 a year or less. Based on census data, nearly 40% of families in our service area remain inadequately housed. That includes people living in substandard housing, people residing in overcrowded housing, and people whose rent or house payment isn’t affordable. This means that over 28,000 people, including nearly 7,000 children, don’t have a safe, sufficient, and affordable home.
Homeownership is fighting a similar battle. The biggest impact of the broken housing market for homeownership is the appraisal gap. A new, modest home costs more to build than what it appraises for in our area. For the houses HDA typically builds this gap ranges from $10,000 to $35,000. In other words, it costs $10,000-$35,000 more to build a home than the market will bear.
1 in 4 houses in our area are being valued at less than $50,000. The majority of these homes were built before 1989, so the housing stock in our four counties is aging and of lower quality. This fact limits lending opportunities for major maintenance and repairs for the region’s current homeowners. In addition, lower incomes make it financially impossible for many families to purchase a new home.
That’s why we’re committed to bringing affordable housing to the people of Appalachian East Kentucky. We believe affordable housing is perhaps the most significant way to build generational wealth and move people out of poverty. A good, quality home a family can afford helps them build financial stability, making the individual or family stronger while also strengthening our community. The homes we build are energy efficient and are built to last. By giving low-income and middle-income families – the workforce of East Kentucky – a chance to become homeowners, we are laying a new foundation for the future of our community.
Affordable housing changes lives, empowers families, and makes our mountain communities stronger, more adaptable, and poised to flourish in a new economy.