Affordable Housing

Definition: Housing instability may be evidenced by frequent moves because of economic reasons; living in the home of another because of economic hardship; being evicted from a private dwelling unit, living in a hotel or motel; living in severely overcrowded housing; or otherwise living in housing that has characteristics associated with instability and an increased risk of homelessness (Partnering for Change).

Why is this issue important?

  • A 2013 U.S. Census’s survey shows that, at 18.3%, Alamance County has a higher percentage of people living below the poverty level than the state of North Carolina, at17.5% (Alamance County Community Assessment).
  • 23% of the population of Alamance County has an income less than 125% of the poverty level, and 48% of renters were unable to afford the fair market rent for a 2-bedroom housing unit in Alamance County (Alamance County Community Assessment).
  • 318,963 foreclosures occurred in North Carolina between 2005 and 2010 (North Carolina Housing Coalition).
  • In 2017, over 1/3 of American households paid more than 30% of their income on housing, and the problem grows worse every year (National Multifamily Housing Council).
  • $20.30 per hour is the hourly wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in the U.S. (more than 2.5 times the federal minimum wage) (National Low Income Housing Coalition).
  • 330 million urban households around the world today lack decent housing or are so financially stretched due to the cost of housing that they forgo other basic needs (Habitat for Humanity).

Opportunities for Involvement

Habitat for Humanity

Help build houses or serve in Burlington’s Habitat ReStore. In addition, participate in campus events and fundraisers to support the cost to build our Elon Habitat house, a yearly commitment our chapter makes. Email for more information.

Sampling Of Elon Courses Related To This Issue

For more information on these courses listed, view the Elon Course Catalog.

  • Human Service Studies 311: Social Policy and Inequality
  • Philosophy 330: Economic Justice
  • Poverty and Social Justice 110: Introduction to Poverty Studies
  • Religion 348: Environmental Ethics
  • Sociology 331: The Self and Society
  • Sociology 333: Social Stratification
  • Wellness and Health Education 115: Contemporary Issues in Wellness: Stress and Well-being

Questions For Reflection

  • How are the issues of affordable housing and housing insecurity pervasive?
  • What other social issues play into housing instability?
  • Who needs to better understand the affordable housing problem and be convinced to make a change?
  • Is housing instability systemic? Why or why not?
  • How has society conditioned us to treat or regard people in a state of homelessness?
  • What stereotypes exist around the topic of housing insecurity and what are their consequences?
  • How are individuals or groups working to address this issue locally and nationally?
  • How can students use the knowledge and skills they are gaining in college to address this issue?
  • What can Elon do to improve knowledge and discussion of housing instability on its campus?