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Green is the wave of the future and environmentally conscious living can impact every aspect of our lives including housing. Today, many affordable home communities are utilizing green building to create safe, innovative, and sustainable homes.
Affordable & Green
Excerpt from Global Green:
 
There is an increasing need for housing that is both affordable and "green." Green building is a process for designing, developing, constructing, and operating buildings and infrastructure using sustainable methods and materials-to provide healthy living environments for people, to reduce the use of energy and natural resources, and to minimize negative impacts on local, regional, and global ecosystems.
Green building is a tool to help build sustainable communities. Sustainability is generally considered to have three main components: social equity, economy, and environment. Affordable home developments address many of the social and economic aspects of sustainability, and the aim of green affordable communities is to integrate all three components. The primary goal of affordable home development - to provide safe, decent, and affordable homes that contribute to the development of strong and economically vibrant communities- is supported by green building. Green building simply adds another lens through which to view and meet these goals. Affordable and Green broadens the definition of affordable to include not only low rent or purchase price but also
Low operating costs (including energy and water bills)
Low maintenance costs
Close proximity to public transportation
Non-toxic, healthy living-spaces
Walkable neighborhoods connected to the broader community and nature
For more information on Affordable and Green developments, visit the following sites:
Global Green
Enterprise Community Partners Other Resources
 
How to find an Affordable Home
Benefits of Affordable Homes
Glossary of Terms
 
Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Housing
 
  Linbrook Court, Anaheim, California
Linbrook Court
Anaheim, California
 
What Do You Mean By "Affordable" Housing?
There is often confusion among people about the term "affordable housing" and what it applies to. While affordable housing covers many different income levels and price ranges, what makes housing "affordable" is the ratio of housing costs to household income. The word "affordable," as defined by the federal government, means that housing plus utilities should not cost more than 30 percent of household income.
 
 

Jamboree Housing Community
Montecito Vista Apartments
Irvine, California

 

 
What Is Affordable Housing?
Affordable homes in Orange County are developed, built, and managed by both non-profit and for-profit providers. Both recognize that well-designed and well-managed affordable home developments can be community assets. Affordable rental homes are deed-restricted and usually government subsidized at the time of development, which ensures that the apartments will remain affordable over time. To qualify for affordable homes, tenants must meet income and household size restrictions. The developments also frequently offer residents an array of additional services, such as after-school tutoring and computer learning centers. The combination of good management, smart design, and a variety of supportive services makes an affordable community an option which exceeds market standards, and is truly exceptional. For examples of affordable home communities in Orange County, visit our Photo Gallery.
 
  Seniors Housing
Hardworking Family Housing

 
Who Is Affordable Housing For?
  • Senior citizens
  • Persons with special needs
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Hardworking families earning less than 80% of the median income in the area
Affordable home communities are typically aimed at extremely low, very low and low income households that are burdened by the high housing costs in Orange County. Very low and low income households earn between 50 to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), and often pay half of their income towards housing. Extremely low income households earn 30 percent of the median income and pay more than half of their income towards housing. Below is a sample of the types of workers who would qualify for an affordable home in Orange County.
Wages in Orange County
 
     
What Is Area Median Income (AMI)?
Each year, the federal government calculates the median income for communities across the country to use as guidelines for federal housing programs. Area median incomes are set according to family size. In Orange County, the 2014 median income for a family of four is $87,200 per year and for a single person is $61,050--which is much higher than surrounding counties.
 
  Kids Affordable Homes  
Why Do We Need To Build More Affordable Homes?
In Orange County, the average two-bedroom apartment rents for around $1,594 per month. A person needs to earn at least $31.62 per hour, or $65,760 per year, to be able to afford this typical "market-rate" apartment. That means a minimum wage earner must work approximately 158 hours a week in order to afford that apartment. Even three people working at minimum wage do not earn enough to make that apartment affordable.
 
     
Where Do I Find Existing Affordable Homes?

There are many high-quality affordable rental communities located throughout Orange County. Unfortunately, due to the extremely high demand for these apartments, most sites have waiting lists.

To find out the availability of units in your community, contact the housing developers listed on our Resources page or refer to OC Community Services comprehensive list of affordable rental communities.

 
     
Are There Benefits To Developing Affordable Homes?
YES! There are many benefits to developing affordable homes, including:
 
  Healthy Community  
1. Stable Families, Healthy Communities, and Economic Prosperity. Housing opportunities that are affordable to all income levels is key to creating and sustaining healthy families and communities. Affordable homes located close to employment centers allow people to spend less time commuting and more time with family and children. Furthermore, affordable communities are designed to accommodate people already working in and contributing to our communities. This includes teachers, nurses, paramedics, restaurant servers, bank tellers, sales associates and countless others who supply our personal needs on a daily basis. Additionally, the economy can not grow if there is no place for the workforce to live--and that affects everyone. When housing is affordable, people have more income available to spend in other areas of the market. Providing housing to serve a wide array of income levels creates the strong residential base needed to support small businesses and commercial expansion--thus shaping economic growth.
 
     
2. Less Traffic Congestion. Families living in affordable homes generally own fewer cars and drive less; thus in most neighborhoods with mixed-income housing, traffic is not a big problem. Additionally, combining high-density housing with commercial development further aids traffic control as everyday conveniences and retail establishments (such as grocery stores, dry cleaners and restaurants) are within walking distance or transit use.
 
  Community Investment  
3. Community Investment. Affordable home development allows for community enhancement while preserving community equity. For example, property values are influenced by a variety of factors, none of which include affordable housing development. The top factors include preexisting value of the land, architectural standards and adequate maintenance. Today's affordable home developments are designed to fit into existing communities and include attractive layouts and numerous amenities. Furthermore, when rents are guaranteed to remain affordable, families are more likely to stay in one place and be invested members of their neighborhood and community. When people's needs are met--when hardworking people can provide a safe home for their families, put food on the table, spend quality time with their children, and participate in their communities--there is an inherent desire to preserve that well-being. The result is safe, inviting, prosperous and well-functioning communities.

Benefits to Affordable Housing was adapted from "Myths and Facts About Affordable & High Density Housing,"  a report by California Planning Roundtable and California Department of Housing and Community Development. To view this publication click here.
 
 
   
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