If you had to choose between a safe home, nutritious food, health care or reliable transportation what would you pick?
That's a choice one in 10 families in Kansas have to make because they are forced to pay half or more of their income on a place to live. This burden means they're denied the personal and economic stability that safe, decent and affordable housing provides.
When the cost of a home is your family’s future, the cost is too high and that’s something none of us can afford. That’s why Wichita Habitat for Humanity is joining hundreds of Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country for our first national advocacy campaign: Cost of Home.
We hosted our second annual Legislative Build Days in May.
Policymakers from local, state and federal government joined us to volunteer and learn about affordable housing. Most importantly, they learned how through policies, they can create opportunities for affordable housing and home repairs. They also heard from Habitat homebuyers who shared what life is like when you pay more than half your paycheck for rent.
We thank everyone who participated on May 12, 13 and 18.
Having a permanent home can impact a student's performance in school. An analysis of six Sedgwick County school districts and 15 high schools found there may be a link between homeownership and education. On average, school zones with less rentership have higher graduation rates. When children grow up in a permanent home it impacts their education through improved attendance, better cognitive and behavioral health, and improved academic achievement. Click this link to learn more about a home's impact on a child's education.
Your voice is urgently needed! A letter from Wichita Habitat's Advocacy Chair
As a long-time, volunteer and Board member of Wichita Habitat for Humanity, I and my fellow volunteers have seen many situations here in Wichita where lives are in danger and dwellings are risky for the inhabitants. We have visited dwellings where the floors swayed as we walked on them. We visited homes where a child slept in a closet because the bedroom ceiling in his parents’ rental house had collapsed. In one home, four young girls waited hours for the bathtub to drain before they could bathe. We regularly hear of parents and children sharing beds because of a lack of sleeping space. Overcrowding spreads disease. We have seen asthmatic children hospitalized repeatedly because they are living in a rental house with black mold. We speak with parents afraid for their children as they hear neighbor’s angry voices through paper-thin walls or hear gunshots nightly in their neighborhood.
In one particularly moving situation, a mattress was propped against a dining room wall where a young boy slept under the table during the night and the family ate at the table during the day. Imagine now the young boy is educated at the same table he sleeps under at night.
I urge each of you to remember the housing needs in Wichita and surrounding areas. Make housing a priority and work to ensure that each person has a safe, healthy, affordable place to live. Working together, we can achieve this goal. Activate your efforts by volunteering, donating and advocating with public officials at all levels of government to make housing a priority. Safe, healthy, and affordable housing is a goal we can achieve!
Ann Patterson, Advocacy Chair for Wichita Habitat and member of Habitat's U.S. Council Advocacy Committee