Chris Jones believes that housing is a basic human right that all Arkansans deserve. Research shows that increasing access to affordable housing is the most cost-effective strategy for increasing economic mobility in the United States. Each dollar invested in affordable housing boosts local economies by leveraging public and private resources to generate income.
According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, there is a shortage of affordable rental homes in Arkansas available to extremely low-income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Housing is considered to be affordable if a household is paying no more than 30% of its income in housing costs. Households that pay more than 30% are considered to be cost-burdened, and those that pay more than 50% are considered to be severely cost-burdened. Severely cost-burdened households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.
Our homes are at the center of our lives, there’s almost nothing more important. Investing in more affordable housing will improve the quality of life of Arkansans. Moreover, investing in and increasing access to affordable housing means an improved Arkansas economy. When housing is affordable, Arkansans will spend more energy and resources on healthcare, nutrition, education, daycare, transportation, and other important products and services.
To invest in and expand access to affordable housing, Chris Jones would:
Invest more funding into community housing development programs
Scale programs that provide resources for those who are currently unhoused to provide bridge supports
Work with the Arkansas General Assembly to prohibit source of income discrimination at the state level
Provide incentives to developers for increased new construction of permanently affordable housing units across the state
Enable more financing tools and ease financing restrictions for potential homebuyers and renters
Implement basic tenant protections to ensure minimum habitability standards are guaranteed