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.
The poverty rates and median incomes our communities are experiencing have devastated the local housing market. Lower incomes produce a lower rental rate, which in turn, is too low to support quality rental housing. However, even these deflated rates are still too high for eastern Kentucky families to afford. The low rental rates warrant low appraisal rates of rental properties, which makes it extremely difficult to develop new rental units in our area and suppresses buyers who can’t afford to purchase the property without subsidy.
Homeownership is fighting a similar battle, with 1 in 4 houses in our area 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.
This is a vicious cycle where no one wins.
That’s why we’re committed to bringing affordable housing to the people of eastern Kentucky. We believe affordable housing is perhaps the most significant way to build generational wealth. A good, high quality home is a sign of permanence and is a deep investment in a place. The homes we build are affordable and will stand the test of time, meaning that they can be passed down from generation to generation. By giving low-income and middle-income families – the workforce of eastern Kentucky – a chance to become homeowners, we are laying a new foundation for the future of Appalachia.
Affordable housing changes lives, empowers families, and makes our mountain communities stronger, more adaptable, and poised to flourish in a new economy.