Name: Elena Mitchell (she/her) Major: Human Development & Family Science
Contact Info email@example.com 470-535-3844
How did I get involved in IMPACT? I got involved as a freshman because my Dawg Camp counselor told me what a great experience he had on his IMPACT trip. I knew I wanted to find a service related organization on campus so I decided to see what it was all about and wow I’m so glad I did!! Over spring break, I went on the Education Access and Advocacy Trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. I met some of the most genuine and passionate people that I call my best friends today! It was incredible to not only serve alongside them and learn about our trip focus together, but also to learn from each other. It was such an inspiring week that I will always cherish and I’m so excited for another IMPACT experience!
Why am I interested in my trip focus? Our trip focus is affordable housing. Housing is such a basic necessity that I believe everyone should have access to and I know that having a roof over my head is something that I take for granted every single day. It is absolutely insane to me that there is no county in the entire United States that has enough affordable housing to meet the need. I have come to realize just how related lack of affordable housing is to so many other systemic issues and can’t wait to learn more through this trip.
Favorite IMPACT memory? There are SO many to choose from, but one that stands out is visiting the Boys and Girls Club on my Education Access & Advocacy Trip. I had so much fun playing games and getting to know the kids and it was amazing to see how connected the organization was to the community and to get to hear about their experiences! (also laughing uncontrollably while playing the crazy fun games our site leaders taught us!! My future participants get excited <3)
Name: Rashi Bhatnagar Major: Chemistry
Contact Info firstname.lastname@example.org 678-878-8586
How did I get involved in IMPACT? I learnt about IMPACT through instagram, where I saw my orientation leaders post about the trip. I learnt more about it by talking to some of my classmates who went on a trip and finally in fall 2019, I decided to apply and it was one of the best decisions I took at UGA. I have always been interested in engaging with service organizations at UGA and so when I learnt about IMPACT, I was very curious to experience this week long trip. Our trip to Orlando, Florida in Spring 2020 was focused on “youth empowerment” and was one of the most memorable, educative and fulfilling trips. We got the opportunity to work with “Give Kids the World,” which is a non-profit resort for critically-ill children. We also got the opportunity to engage with kids at the Girls and Boys club and Mercy after school. Throughout the trip, we remained focused on making an “impact” on the youth of Orlando through direct and indirect service. I met amazing people on the trip and made some of the best memories. It was one of the most holistic experiences because I grew as a leader, person and a team mate. I loved IMPACT so much that I wanted to get more involved with the program, experience another social justice issue and also be able to give others the experience I had. I am very excited about our trip in Spring 2021 and looking forward to meeting all the future participants. Why am I interested in my trip focus?
After a long day of work, we all look forward to going back to a home, where we feel safe and protected and not having that place to go back to is something most of us can never imagine. Like Elena said, housing is something most of us take for granted and the feeling of not having a roof over your head at all times is daunting. Communities across the country are facing low-income housing shortages and millions of Americans are struggling to afford a place to live. Hence, affordable housing is an important social justice issue to be tackled and learnt about. As I read more about our trip, I looked further into the Habitat for Humanity, which is a non-profit organization we will be working with. I was fascinated with the idea of “partnership housing” that allows families to serve with volunteers to build affordable homes. I also love how these families attend educational workshops to prepare them as future homeowners. I am thoroughly excited to be a part of this trip and together with my group, contribute in building affordable houses for families in Asheboro, which they can later call their home sweet home!
Favorite IMPACT memory? One of my most memorable experiences on IMPACT was talking to a third grader at Mercy after school who got bullied. I got to develop a one-on-one relationship with her and was able to guide her. She gave me a small toy of hers and said in her exact words, “I am giving you this because you taught me respect and how to protect myself.” I will never forget these lines and the “impact” she made on my heart, motivating me to keep serving and uplifting others. Some of my other favorite memories include spending all my time with my group mates who made even the daily chores so much more fun and exciting. Simply getting to know them better with every passing day and working towards a common cause was absolutely memorable; an experience that I would want to recreate again and again.
About Affordable Housing
Our trip to Asheboro, North Carolina focuses on the social justice issue of affordable housing. Housing is considered affordable if you are spending less than 30% of your income on it. The lack of stable affordable housing is the foundation of many of America’s social problems, including poverty, homelessness, educational disparities, and health care. Communities across the country are facing low-income housing shortages and millions of Americans are struggling to afford a place to live.
In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in the U.S., renters need to earn a wage of $20.30 per hour. US minimum wage is $7.25/hour. A renter would need to work 90 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental home at the Fair Market Rent and 112 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom. On average, there are only 28 adequate and affordable housing options for every 100 extremely low-income households.
It is important to note that affordable housing does not lower property value. Architectural standards and adequate maintenance is the key determinant of property value. When residents have a sense of ownership and control over their lives, their community involvement helps to lower crime rates.
Terms to Know
NIMBY: an acronym that stands for “Not in My Backyard”. It refers to when residents of a particular neighborhood or area are against development where they live.
Wealth Gap:The term refers to the gap in earnings as well as assets and net worth (assets minus debts), between two groups such as the 1% and the 99%, white and black Americans or, more broadly, the haves and the have-nots.
Eviction: The action of expelling a tenant from a property. Housing discrimination: It is the illegal practice of discriminating against buyers or renters based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, family status or disability.
Intersectionality:The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group.
Gentrification: process by which higher-income people move into a neighborhood previously dominated by low-income households.
Housing Choice Vouchers: It is a program by the federal government for assisting low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. It is a form of subsidized affordable housing in which families who qualify may be provided with government funding to pay a portion of their rent in standard, market-rate housing.
Area median income (AMI): This is the median income of all households in a given county. It is used to determine who qualifies for certain subsidized affordable housing options like public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers.
Rent control: These are government regulations that mandate specific prices and/or freezes on the cost of rent, as well as other requirements for home landlords to operate. New York state is the most prominent example of a government example of a government utilizing rent controls in the US.
Rent-burdened: It has been established that the amount one pays for housing should be equal to 30% or less of one's income. Anyone who is paying more than that for the housing is “rent-burdened.”
What Affordable Housing Looks Like in Asheboro & Athens
Asheboro In Asheboro, 22.6% of residents are living in poverty (as of 2017). In the state of North Carolina, 1 in 4 households lack access to affordable housing, spending over 30% of their income on housing. Additionally, workers would need to earn $17 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, yet the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that works with homeowners to help build an affordable, decent place for them to live. They work in communities in all fifty states, including in Asheboro, North Carolina. Check out this podcast if you’d like to learn more about the affordable housing crisis in North Carolina: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2019/08/05/samuel-gunter-executive-director-of-the-nc-housing-coalition-discusses-the-lack-of-affordable-housing-in-our-state/
Athens In Athens, almost 50% of residents are spending over 30% of their income on rent. Athens also has one of the highest poverty rates in the state of Georgia, with about 29% of residents (excluding college aged residents) living in poverty. More than 200 individuals in Athens-Clarke county are homeless. Athens-Clarke county’s homeless rate of 0.186% is slightly more than the national average of 0.176% Athens has tried to counter homelessness by providing more homeless services that its adjacent counties combined. However, these services have developed a pull that has attracted homeless people from adjacent counties. Some homeless people come to Athens to live easier and have a place to rest and eat and others come to get out of homelessness by seeking services like Athens Area Homeless Shelter. The goal should be to get more and more people seek these services eventually.
This graph shows that while national poverty rates and those in the state of Georgia have decreased, Athens-Clarke county’s poverty rates have been increasing over time.
This graph shows how income is distributed on the national, state, and local (Athens-Clarke county) levels. As you can see, there is a significant increase in the percentage of households on the low end of income as compared to that of national and state levels.
For more information on poverty and access to affordable housing in Athens, check out this link: http://oneathens.org/poverty-data
Community Health and Wellbeing Poor housing and poor health are tied together, especially with children. When homeless or low-income families have to compromise on housing, their health declines. There are several implications on health due to poor quality housing situations. These include worsening asthma and allergies, pests, molds, and chronic dampness. Additionally, there can be lead exposure and increased accidents and injuries from exposed wiring and other needed repairs.
Disability Awareness For people with disabilities, there are far too many barriers to housing. Without affordable, accessible housing in the community, many are at risk of institutionalization or homelessness. Across the nation, many people with disabilities are experiencing an affordability crisis. An accessible home offers specific features or technologies such as lowered kitchen counters and sinks, widened doorways, and wheel-in showers. The availability of affordable, accessible housing remains far less than the need, leaving far too many people with Intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) institutionalized, homeless. Here are some sources that touch upon the intersectionality of Disability Awareness and Affordable Housing. https://www.empowerline.org/resources/housing-for-disability/#:~:text=Very%20low%2Dincome%20adults%20with,ages%20of%2018%20and%2061. https://thearc.org/policy-advocacy/housing/
Education Access & Advocacy This article discusses many of the impacts of affordable housing on education. These include a more stable and safe home environment, decreased rates of homelessness, less mobility, and increased student achievement. Children are able to focus better and form stable social connections that increase their cognitive functioning and ability to learn. https://nhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/The-Impacts-of-Affordable-Housing-on-Education-1.pdf
Affordable Housing options located in high-opportunity areas can lead to economically diverse neighborhoods, which in turn, can lead to economically diverse schools which consistently drive strong student outcomes for all children.
Immigration Awareness The housing shortage imposes serious stresses on both immigrant and non-immigrant households. Immigrants as a whole experience worse housing conditions. They pay a larger share of their income in rent, and they are twice as likely to live in crowded conditions. But such generalizations give a misleading picture, because the housing experiences of different immigrant groups vary so widely. These differences can be partly explained by income differences among the groups, but much of the variation also appears to result from the unique histories of the various groups. Here are a few sources that touch upon the intersectionality of Immigration Awareness and Affordable Housing. https://b.3cdn.net/nycss/6174637efe14b4c944_l2m6b8b6d.pdf https://www.mhponline.org/images/Immigrant-research-final.pd
Shelter & Resource Access Affordable housing and having access to shelter and resources go hand in hand. The graphic below depicts the cycle of generational poverty, which shows how systemic the issue of poverty is and the implications it has on health and education. Check out the article below for more information on how the lack of affordable housing is the leading cause of homelessness. https://invisiblepeople.tv/lack-of-affordable-housing-remains-the-leading-cause-of-homelessness/
“Affordable Housing Facts.” Mutual Housing California, www.mutualhousing.com/other-housing-resources/affordable-housing-facts/. “Asheboro, North Carolina.” Asheboro, North Carolina (NC) Profile: Population, Maps, Real Estate, Averages, Homes, Statistics, Relocation, Travel, Jobs, Hospitals, Schools, Crime, Moving, Houses, News, Sex Offenders, 2020, www.city-data.com/city/Asheboro-North-Carolina.html. Donovan, Spencer, and Francisco Guzman. “Proposal Seeks to Address Lack of Affordable Housing for Low-Income Athens Residents.” The Red and Black, 30 Sept. 2019, www.redandblack.com/athensnews/proposal-seeks-to-address-lack-of-affordable-housing-for-low-income- athens-residents/article_b571cc2e-5bec-11e9-909b-67ef4b13cdc4.html. Henkel, Clayton, et al. “Monday Numbers: A Closer Look at North Carolina's Affordable Housing Crisis.” NC Policy Watch, 12 Aug. 2019, www.ncpolicywatch.com/2019/08/12/monday-numbers-a-closer-look-at-north-carolinas-affordable-housing-crisis/. “Poverty Data: One Athens.” Poverty Data | One Athens, oneathens.org/poverty-data. Quednau, Rachel. “17 Head-Scratcher Housing Terms, Defined.” Strong Towns, Strong Towns, 3 Apr. 2018, www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/3/30/17-head-scratcher-housing-words-defined. Reisigl, Joe. “By Choice or by Crisis, the Stories behind Homelessness in Athens.” Athens Banner-Herald, Athens Banner-Herald, 27 Nov. 2016, www.onlineathens.com/local-news/2016-11-26/choice-or-crisis-stories-behind-homelessness-athens. Yglesias, M. (2014, April 10). Everything you need to know about the affordable housing debate. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://www.vox.com/2014/4/10/18076868/affordable-housing-explained