I am currently traveling around the world without any strict plan on where to sleep in the night. Hence, every night I’ll be walking across the streets, checking the map for an open space to camp and finally finding a place to sleep in the middle of the night. I have to admit, it is DIFFICULT at times.
However, for me, it is only for a few days as I am just traveling to gain experience. Imagine you really don’t have a home and you have to wander every night to look for a place to sleep; does it feel good?
I have personally seen this problem in Chennai, India whereby people living in uncertainty about basic accommodation and in Brussels, Belgium where the refugees had to carry around their blankets on the streets at night to find a place to sleep. What causes them to be in that state?
In America, The New York Times reported that the country is facing an escalating of the affordable housing crisis. “Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70% or more of their incomes for shelter”. The hike in housing prices may result in more and more people left homeless due to the unaffordability.
In Australia, The Conversation stated that housing supply is increasing but it does not expand the affordable housing side of the development which leaves more poor people with limited opportunity to afford a house. This situation does not help in reducing homelessness crisis.
The bad outcome to this crisis does not only effect on the individual level. But, it affects the entire community and the country as a whole. But how?
As a Single Individual
Imagine you are on a train journey. You could see beautiful scenery outside the window while listening to interesting conversations of others in that train. Somehow, the scenery relaxes your mind and those conversations give you ideas or insights about how to solve your problem. This scenario can only be noticed and enjoyed if you have a peace of mind, right?
But, imagine you don’t have a valid train ticket and you are illegally seated. Will you be looking at the window or monitor whether the train ticket checker is approaching you? Will you be listening to those interesting conversions or speaking with your mind on how to solve this ticketing problem?
Whether you want it or not, if you are in that situation, the disturbance will always stay in your mind and stops you from moving forward in your thinking. So, how can we expect a child to have a proper education and stability of their mind when he or she can’t even have a proper place to live and sleep? It can’t be helped that their individual growth may go array and eventually, their perspective on life may be negatively affected.
As a Family
When a parent looks at their child being in a tight and poor situation, it’s not a wonder if they are emotionally broken and cannot have a peace of mind or rational thinking. Sometimes, on the extreme level, they can end up thinking that education is a waste and better, just get a job to earn a livelihood which leads to child labor.
Besides that, some families try to shy away from help and just keep their problems within themselves because they don’t want the sympathy of others. Such suppression may lead to piling up of problems and causes more negativity among the family members. Hence, instead of solving, more problems may be created. This whole situation will negatively affect the way they approach the problems at hands.
As an Environment
A harmony environment within a community is important for sake of sustainability and security. Hence, treating everyone with respect is one of the important keys within a community. However, when one does not have a place to call home, he or she is often looked down by others and resulted in a broken self-esteem.
Naturally, this whole situation can affect the harmony of an environment within a community. It will lead to how they behave towards each other and a disbalance can be formed between those who have a home and those who do not own a home.
Besides that, no one wants to live in a state of homelessness nor in a poor condition house forever. The desire to get what they wanted — which is a nice housing — sometimes may lead to theft, robbery and insecure environment for everyone in the locality.
Theft and robbery do not only refer to the stealing of physical goods. It goes beyond how one may run a business or a customer deal with a business. For example, a businessman may cheat their way in doing business to gain more profit while buyers may cheat their way by stealing. So, it is safe to say that the surrounding environment plays an important influence in how people may live their lives.
As a Country
Imagine a quarter of the human workforce in a country doesn’t have proper support and infrastructure to enhance their lives due to poverty, negative environment or bad human relationships. How many of them will push through by educating themselves and how many will fall through in the wrong direction?
If a country cannot fully utilize the human workforce it has, it can reduce the economic growth of a country. When people are not capable of producing, it will lead to more import and less export. Less export means a country may go further into currency fall. A currency fall would lead to inflation and inflation leads to a higher price of goods. Hence, if a buying power within a country is weak, it will affect the economic state of the country.
How Can We Overcome?
There are multiple ways to solve this problem and a lot of social enterprises are already on their move to provide more affordable housing supply. For example, EthisCrowd.com is a world’s first real estate Islamic crowdfunding platform that focuses on funding social housing projects (housing provided for the people on low-incomes) through online investment from the crowd. [ETHIS = Ethical + Islamic shariah complaint]
The platform is helping developers to build social housing via crowdfunding. Investors — large or small — pool in their money on the EthisCrowd.com’s platform and the money is channeled to fund social housing projects. They facilitate everything from scratch to a final stage of development.
Hence, the EthisCrowd.com is not just helping to fund more social housing projects but also helping to provide developers with alternative financing instead of conventional banking financing.
Buying a home should not be difficult for every background of people. However, the real estate market has been focusing on building more and more luxurious homes to cater the demand of the rich and fail to look at the demand of affordable homes from the middle and low-income people. Hence, opportunities to buy a home that is appropriate to the buyer’s financial state is getting difficult.
As elaborated above in each sub-topics, affordable housing crisis can affect all levels of lives negatively. But, if affordable housing is no longer a crisis, it can help improve one’s life and move out from poverty and eventually moving out of bad environment.