While the concept of the “American Dream” has evolved over the years, for many of us, homeownership remains the core of this vision.

For some, it’s a home in the suburbs with the iconic white picket fence. For others, it’s a small, low-maintenance home in a highly amenitized community. For an increasing number, though, it’s a townhouse in a mixed-used community or a duplex in a vibrant neighborhood. For too many of us, reality provides an unwelcome wakeup call. The dream is out of reach… Unless we focus on achievable housing. What is it — and why is it so critical to our communities?

What Achievable Housing Is —
And What It Is Not

Achievable housing is non-subsidized housing that is affordable to folks with an income between 80 – 120% of the area’s median income of $54,000 (2018). In other words, it is within reach of households earning between $43,200 and $64,800. Who are these people? Us! They’re our community leaders and helpers: municipal employees, teachers, law enforcement officers, small business owners, nurses, managers, tradespeople…. Achievable housing allows more people to access affordable homes.

Achievable housing can take many different forms, including:

  • Single family homes on smaller lots in higher density neighborhoods
  • Duplexes
  • Townhouses
  • Courtyard or bungalow style communities
  • Multifamily housing

The appeal for different types of housing is multi-generational. From Millennials and Gen Zers entering the workforce to young families to retirees, many people appreciate the flexibility and convenience of living in communities with mixed-use development. They are close to work; they’re close to shops, restaurants, and services; they are close to social and recreational opportunities. And they are home.

There can be some NIMBY (Not In My Backyard!) thinking when it comes to achievable housing. Some have unfounded fears that it leads to higher crime rates, crowded classrooms, lower property values, negative impacts on drainage, and a loss of that intangible yet essential community character.

Achievable housing does not mean lower quality. It does not mean stripped-down homes in less-desirable areas. What it does mean is that more people can afford a safe, secure, well-built, welcoming home.

Achievable Housing Is an Issue That Impacts All of Us

What happens when communities put their weight behind achievable housing?

  • We make progress towards meeting demand. In the Indianapolis region, for example, construction trends indicate we’re building about 7250 new housing units a year. We need 9000 to meet demand. Close enough? Tell that to the 1750 people (and families) who will struggle to find suitable housing.
  • We boost the local economy. Achievable housing leads to higher tax revenues, job creation, and increased local purchasing power.
  • Our communities work for workers. With achievable housing, more workers are attracted to the area, businesses can boom, and communities can enjoy a higher quality of life. It is important that retail, service, and hospitality workers, who fill tens of thousands of the new jobs being created in Indiana, are able to afford housing in these communities.
  • We perpetuate a healthy cycle. When Hoosiers can put down roots, they reinvest in their communities. Whether they’re shopping at the local market, eating at the corner diner, or donating to the after-school club, homeowners contribute to the area. At the same time, we free up more resources to address critical issues, such as healthcare and food security.
  • Hoosiers have freedom of choice. All Hoosiers should have the opportunity to make housing decisions based on their preferences and on what they can afford. Financial and accessibility barriers to homeownership must be eradicated. As a result, we will all enjoy more vibrant, diverse communities. And yes, they are full of character!
“Our lives all interact with people who have different income levels than our own. It takes more than CEOs to run the world.”

Learn More

Achievable housing impacts us all; when more Hoosiers can make the dream of homeownership a reality, our communities benefit from an economic and social standpoint. Connect with us to learn more about the Build Indiana Roots program and achievable housing. Let’s build a better future for all of us.