Ninety-seven hours a week. Two and a half full-time jobs! That’s how much the the average minimum-wage earner in the U.S. would have to work in order to rent a two-bedroom home.
In fact, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual review of the market finds two-bedroom rentals aren’t affordable for a minimum-wage worker anywhere in the U.S. One-bedroom rentals are affordable in only five percent of counties.
Having a decent place to live is essential to realizing your full potential. But housing is simply out of reach for far too many Americans.
That’s why we devote so much of our energy to housing at Goddard. I’m proud we provide nearly 600 affordable rental units here for older adults and people with a history of mental illness and/or homelessness. Our Homeless Outreach teams help people living on the street move into permanent supportive housing. Our Resource Center assists people with a variety of housing problems. And the Law Project helps tenants organize to improve conditions in their buildings, strengthen tenant rights and defend New Yorkers against eviction.
I’m also proud of our long history of innovation in housing. In the 80s, we pioneered homeless outreach and established one of the nation’s first supportive housing residences. These gave rise to the Housing First approach, which is now the national standard for reducing homelessness. More recently, we partnered with organizations throughout the city in the Right to Counsel Coalition. In 2017 this coalition passed the nation’s first law guaranteeing legal assistance to low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court.
I’m grateful to everyone who helps us fight for housing, including our donors and the incredible tenant activists who organize with our Law Project. We have a long way to go to make housing a basic right for all Americans—but with your help, we’ll keep working until we get there.
Roderick L. Jones