Americans Struggle With Maintaining Housing

More than half of Americans report that they are struggling to maintain housing, making at least one sacrifice during the past three years to pay their rent or mortgage, according to a survey conducted by Hart Research Associates.

The second annual How Housing Matters Survey explains that these sacrifices include taking on an additional job or more hours at work, cutting back on health care and healthy foods, running up credit card debt, moving to a less ideal neighborhood and no longer continuing to save for retirement.

“One of the most important findings from this research and a reason that so many within the American public understand it … is that this is very real and very personal for Americans,” Rebecca Naser, senior vice president of Hart Research Associates, said at a webinar Tuesday announcing the survey results. 

The results show increasing concern from the American public that there is a shortage of affordable quality housing. 

“The housing crisis is hardly a thing of the past,” Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates, said at the webinar. “What we see throughout our research is the fact that the housing challenges in the past six years have left a significant impact on the [lives] of Americans.”

The majority of Americans believe that in their community, it is challenging to find affordable quality housing, with 58% of respondents saying it’s challenging to find affordable quality rental housing and 59% saying it’s challenging to find affordable quality housing to buy.

Seniors, too, face these difficult challenges, according to the survey. 

“We asked whether [survey respondents] think the seniors and older people that they know … will face major challenges in three dimensions: finding housing that’s affordable, finding housing that meets their physical needs and finding housing near family or other social support,” Naser told Home Health Care News. “Six in 10 or higher feel that seniors will face major or at least some challenges in meeting those needs.”

Survey results show that 65% of respondents said seniors will face “some challenges” or “major challenges” in finding affordable housing; 66% said they will face some or major challenges in finding housing that meets their physical needs; and 58% said seniors will face some or major challenges finding housing that is close to family or other social supports.

A majority of Americans have concerns about the availability of affordable housing for the aging population.

“Many seniors may choose or feel compelled to relocate, and the public believes that their own communities do not provide sufficient affordable housing for seniors,” a supplemental report to the survey says.

Nearly 60% of Americans and 56% of seniors feel that it is challenging for retired people or senior citizens to find affordable housing in their own communities, according to the report.

These concerns are “similar to the concerns that the public expresses across those other groups [of the population],” Naser told Home Health Care News. 

Written by Emily Study