“I like to sit on the porch and let the sun rest on my face”- 9 year old living in a home-built for her family by Habitat for Humanity
I have been very fortunate in 55 years of living that I have always had a home, a roof over my head. Last night I listened to several people speak, including the 9-year-old, about what it meant to their family to have a home. They used words like self-esteem, roots, stability, and future when they spoke about what their home meant to them. It was simply more than a place.
The United States is facing a crisis, hard to believe, but it is a housing crisis. Areas like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Hawaii have plenty of housing just the wrong kind, the kind that only a certain segment of the population can afford. The median home value in San Francisco is $1,104,000. The median list price per square foot in San Francisco is $948. Think about that. A 1,000 square foot house in San Francisco would list for $948,000. In my community the median sales price for a home is $161,500 and the median list price per square foot is $94, so a 1,000 square foot home would list for $94,000.
The rule of thumb most often cited is that no more than 30% of your household income should be spent on housing. The annual average household income in the United States is approximately $54,000. Using 30%, the average household should only be spending $1,350 per month for housing expenses. Sadly, if the primary income producer in a household is earning the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour their net monthly income is well below $1,350 per month.
I know that there is a segment of the population that believes, with all their heart, that the government needs to get out of the entitlement business. But the harsh reality is this, not everyone has the same opportunities or advantages, some people simply need a little more help. I heard those stories last night, stories about what that extra little bit of aid meant to their families.
Yes, I have been lucky but I also understand that my luck could change in a matter of seconds, health issues, mental health issues, a severe change in the economy, a car wreck, a lawsuit, could all change the fragile dynamics of my existence. It happens every day, a thousand times a day, some survive, some recover, others simply can’t or don’t.
Every person, every child, should have the opportunity to enjoy the tranquility of letting the sun rest on their face. There are enough stresses in life without having the added worry of where you are going to sleep or eat your next meal. Before we judge, before we rail about government handouts view your own lot in life with a little perspective, a little objectivity. Most of us are where we are because of the love, support and efforts of others, I know I am.