Affordable Housing Myths

Busting MYTHS

Some believe that affordable housing is only for poor people, drives down property values, looks undesirable and cookie-cutter, hurts local schools, and is too expensive build. Continue reading to learn the real truth.

Myth: Affordable housing is only for poor people.

REALITY: Households with incomes up to 80% of area median income are eligible to move into affordable housing. For a 4-person household, this would be $59,900 in Fresno County.  Fresno Housing also provides below the maximum AMI, which provides housing to many seniors, Veterans and single-parent households.

The people who need affordable housing are often middle class, low to moderate-income earners who are also taxpayers.  Without affordable housing programs, our community would not be able to fill many of these important roles in our economy, such as baristas, grocery clerks, custodial staff, etc…  Fresno Housing also serves veterans, seniors, disabled and other special needs populations.

Fresno Housing aspires to include mixed-income opportunities, and some properties already include a range of units for different income levels, including some with no income restrictions, also known as market rate.

Fresno Housing engages and empowers residents in their neighborhoods by providing stable, quality housing and connections to community resources.

Myth: Affordable housing is only for poor people.

REALITY: Households with incomes up to 80% of area median income are eligible to move into affordable housing. For a 4-person household, this would be $59,900 in Fresno County.  Fresno Housing also provides below the maximum AMI, which provides housing to many seniors, Veterans and single-parent households.

The people who need affordable housing are often middle class, low to moderate-income earners who are also taxpayers.  Without affordable housing programs, our community would not be able to fill many of these important roles in our economy, such as baristas, grocery clerks, custodial staff, etc…  Fresno Housing also serves veterans, seniors, disabled and other special needs populations.

Fresno Housing aspires to include mixed-income opportunities, and some properties already include a range of units for different income levels, including some with no income restrictions, also known as market rate.

Fresno Housing engages and empowers residents in their neighborhoods by providing stable, quality housing and connections to community resources.

Myth: Affordable housing drives down property values.

REALITY: Repeated research shows affordable housing has no negative impact on home prices or on the speed or frequency of sale of neighboring homes. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 85% of affordable housing meets or exceeds federal quality standards and over 40% of this housing is considered “excellent.” That means affordable housing is likely either designed aesthetically with its surrounding neighborhood or in even better condition than its neighbors!

Vast majority of studies show that this is not accurate, and in many instances, affordable housing increases surrounding property values and has either no impact or an improved impact on crime rates. 

Often affordable housing developments are required to invest in surrounding or off-site infrastructure improvements that help benefit quality of life and property values.

Myth: Affordable housing drives down property values.

REALITY: Repeated research shows affordable housing has no negative impact on home prices or on the speed or frequency of sale of neighboring homes. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 85% of affordable housing meets or exceeds federal quality standards and over 40% of this housing is considered “excellent.” That means affordable housing is likely either designed aesthetically with its surrounding neighborhood or in even better condition than its neighbors!

Vast majority of studies show that this is not accurate, and in many instances, affordable housing increases surrounding property values and has either no impact or an improved impact on crime rates. 

Often affordable housing developments are required to invest in surrounding or off-site infrastructure improvements that help benefit quality of life and property values.

MYTH: Affordable housing looks “cheap and undesirable.”

REALITY: Builders of affordable housing must comply with all the same restrictions on design and construction standards as market-rate projects. In addition, because affordable housing projects frequently rely on some public money, they have to comply with additional restrictions and higher standards than market-rate housing.  The reality is that affordable housing is affordable because public and private funds go into making it less costly to live in, not because it’s lower quality construction.

Affordable housing includes many programs and types, such as older public housing or apartments owned and operated by private landlords on the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program.  Some programs offer little funding to maintain or remodel older properties, while other newer programs have very high standards for maintenance and sustainability. 

Fresno Housing develops well-designed, quality housing that supports families, strengthens neighborhoods and builds vibrant communities.

MYTH: Affordable housing looks “cheap and undesirable.”

REALITY: Builders of affordable housing must comply with all the same restrictions on design and construction standards as market-rate projects. In addition, because affordable housing projects frequently rely on some public money, they have to comply with additional restrictions and higher standards than market-rate housing.  The reality is that affordable housing is affordable because public and private funds go into making it less costly to live in, not because it’s lower quality construction.

Affordable housing includes many programs and types, such as older public housing or apartments owned and operated by private landlords on the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program.  Some programs offer little funding to maintain or remodel older properties, while other newer programs have very high standards for maintenance and sustainability. 

Fresno Housing develops well-designed, quality housing that supports families, strengthens neighborhoods and builds vibrant communities.

MYTH: Affordable housing hurts the quality of local schools and lowers standardized test scores.

REALITY: The opposite is actually true. Without affordable housing, many families become trapped in a cycle of rising rents and have to move frequently to find housing they can afford. This means that, their children are not able to stay in the same school for long, resulting in lower test scores on standardized tests. 

When a child has a stable home and can remain in a single school system, their test scores rise. It also means children are able to build long-term relationships with peers, teachers, and mentors that are key to increasing performance in elementary and secondary schools. Finally, it increases the likelihood that children will be able to attend college. When housing disruptions are minimized, everybody wins. 

Fresno Housing Improves the lives of approximately 22,000 children, helping future generations succeed. Through award-winning educational partnerships with youth-oriented organizations and local schools, we provide our young residents with access to learning opportunities and programs.

MYTH: Affordable housing hurts the quality of local schools and lowers standardized test scores.

REALITY: The opposite is actually true. Without affordable housing, many families become trapped in a cycle of rising rents and have to move frequently to find housing they can afford. This means that, their children are not able to stay in the same school for long, resulting in lower test scores on standardized tests. 

When a child has a stable home and can remain in a single school system, their test scores rise. It also means children are able to build long-term relationships with peers, teachers, and mentors that are key to increasing performance in elementary and secondary schools. Finally, it increases the likelihood that children will be able to attend college. When housing disruptions are minimized, everybody wins. 

Fresno Housing Improves the lives of approximately 22,000 children, helping future generations succeed. Through award-winning educational partnerships with youth-oriented organizations and local schools, we provide our young residents with access to learning opportunities and programs.

Myth:  All affordable housing developments are the same.

REALITY: Affordable housing refers to the various types of rental assistance and programming provided to help reduce the rent burden of low-income individuals, including families, veterans, seniors, disabled and more.  In all instances, the housing must be safe and habitable.

Myth:  All affordable housing developments are the same.

REALITY: Affordable housing refers to the various types of rental assistance and programming provided to help reduce the rent burden of low-income individuals, including families, veterans, seniors, disabled and more.  In all instances, the housing must be safe and habitable.

Myth:  Affordable housing is too expensive to build.

REALITY: High density developments are more expensive to construct than other types of development such as single-family homes.  The addition of community rooms, sustainable features for long-term maintenance, elevators, surrounding area infrastructure, local permits and fees, and utilizing federal funds that require prevailing wage all add up to high costs for affordable housing.  Also, by adding several different types of funding, each funding agency has a new set of regulations and reporting requirements that must be met and this adds additional layers of expense. 

Also, affordable housing developments must finance the long term maintenance of each facility.  Because higher rent collection will not be a source of funding the necessary ongoing maintenance and improvements required to ensure that the property will continue being a positive amenity in the neighborhood are financed during construction.     

There is too little supply of affordable housing options, and only a handful of developers.  This imbalance of supply and demand, coupled with other factors makes affordable housing an expensive venture but one that many programs and agencies are working to reduce costs associated by looking at creative construction solutions or streamlining government regulations to reduce costs.

Myth:  Affordable housing is too expensive to build.

REALITY: High density developments are more expensive to construct than other types of development such as single-family homes.  The addition of community rooms, sustainable features for long-term maintenance, elevators, surrounding area infrastructure, local permits and fees, and utilizing federal funds that require prevailing wage all add up to high costs for affordable housing.  Also, by adding several different types of funding, each funding agency has a new set of regulations and reporting requirements that must be met and this adds additional layers of expense. 

Also, affordable housing developments must finance the long term maintenance of each facility.  Because higher rent collection will not be a source of funding the necessary ongoing maintenance and improvements required to ensure that the property will continue being a positive amenity in the neighborhood are financed during construction.     

There is too little supply of affordable housing options, and only a handful of developers.  This imbalance of supply and demand, coupled with other factors makes affordable housing an expensive venture but one that many programs and agencies are working to reduce costs associated by looking at creative construction solutions or streamlining government regulations to reduce costs.