Investing in affordable housing could spark economic growth in central Oklahoma according to new research from United Way of Central Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY – The newest edition of United Way of Central Oklahoma’s research publication, Vital Signs, explores the economic benefits of, as well as the need for, more affordable housing and the barriers to accessing it. Research is focused on the challenges that confront our community, including local discriminatory and predatory lending and leasing practices, and barriers to housing that older adults, individuals with disabilities, unaccompanied youth and those facing homelessness endure.
“Although Oklahoma City is known for its low cost of living, with median income of only $32,104, not everyone has the benefit of decent, accessible and affordable housing,” said Crystal Stuhr, vice president of strategies and community impact for United Way of Central Oklahoma. “A fact that most people are shocked to learn is that 45 percent of Oklahoma County residents are struggling just to pay the rent every month.”
Lack of affordable housing has many more known consequences than facing homelessness, such as an increase in mental health problems, poor educational performance for children due to frequent moves and a cost burden of aging in place for seniors.
However, there are economic benefits. Investment in affordable housing promotes state and local economic development while helping families and older adults who earn modest wages afford decent, safe housing in communities where they live and work.
“Our Partner Agencies are aware of these pressing challenges facing our community, and they have solutions to the problems, but we can’t support that work without proper resources,” said Debby Hampton, United Way of Central Oklahoma president and CEO. “We hope our research will spark a discussion, and elevate the conversation surrounding the serious need for affordable housing here in central Oklahoma.”
Vital Signs is available to view online on United Way of Central Oklahoma’s research page https://bit.ly/2uQMYuQ. Hard copies of the publication are available by request and United Way staff is available to present on this topic by calling 405-236-8441.
About United Way of Central Oklahoma
United Way of Central Oklahoma researches human needs within the communities of central Oklahoma and directs resources to accountable health and human services agencies to meet those needs by improving the health, safety, education and economic well-being of its most vulnerable citizens. For more information about United Way of Central Oklahoma, please visit unitedwayokc.org or call (405) 236-8441.