The Center for Housing Policy released two publications yesterday summarizing findings from recent research on the ways in which affordable housing creates jobs and spurs local economic development. As many states continue to struggle against a bleak economic and fiscal picture, these publications provide insight into the different ways in which the construction, rehabilitation, and operation of affordable housing contribute to job creation and increased tax revenue for localities.
The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Stimulating Local Economic Development: Evidence in Brief and its companion A Review of the Literature, highlight several ways affordable housing development fuels economic growth. Among other impacts, building or significantly rehabilitating affordable housing can:
• Create jobs. Investing in the development of affordable housing creates a significant number of construction-related jobs, and new residents support additional jobs in other sectors going forward.
• Attract both employers and employees. Surveys and supporting research show that both employers and workers understand the importance of affordable housing in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
• Increase consumer spending. Building affordable housing increases the buying power of both those involved in its construction and those who occupy it afterward.
• Increase government revenues. The taxes and fees associated with the development of affordable housing – both during the construction and after the homes are occupied – can represent significant revenue for state and local governments.
• Lower the risk of foreclosure. Affordable homeownership programs appear to produce a more sustainable path to homeownership, eliminating a number of significant foreclosure-related costs that municipalities would otherwise have to absorb.
With communities across the country struggling with high levels of unemployment and lower than expected tax receipts, it is important to understand, document, and communicate the fiscal and economic benefits of affordable housing. The research reviewed in these new publications confirms that investing in affordable housing can simultaneously help meet critical housing needs, stimulate local economies, and begin to address fiscal shortfalls.