The campaign’s state partner in Idaho, the Idaho Asset Building Network (IABN), recently released its “Housing Affordability Chartbook,” an unprecedented report which explores the housing affordability crisis in the state and contains substantial research on the multi-sector spillover impacts. The chartbook is designed to broaden the housing affordability movement in Idaho by informing multi-sector partners, residents, and elected officials about why housing matters in so many areas of life.
As the chartbook demonstrates, Idaho rents have increased three times faster than incomes and the state is experiencing a significant shortage of affordable units. In fact, since 1990, Idaho gained nearly 56,000 low to moderate income households but only added 7,000 affordable rental homes to support them. Today, only one out of the top five Idaho occupations has a median wage that is above what is needed to afford a typical 2-bedroom rental. And none of the most common occupations have entry wages sufficient enough to afford a 2-bedroom rental.
The chartbook argues that the housing affordability crisis spills over into several other sectors, such as education, health, homelessness, and economic growth. For example:
- Homelessness among Idaho schoolchildren has increased as affordable homes become scarcer;
- National research shows that in communities with enough affordable homes, primary care visits go up by 20 percent, emergency room visits go down by 18 percent, and accumulated medical expenses go down by 12 percent;
- An analysis of homelessness in Ada County, Idaho found that stably housing 100 chronically homeless people would save $3.7 million in costs to area hospitals and the county;
- The federal government invested $92.5 million in 2015 to make homes in Idaho more affordable, which in turn created 1,212 direct and indirect jobs in the state.