Everyone has the right to live in an adequate house. Unfortunately, due to excessive land prices, land speculation, high development charges, exorbitant rents, inflated interest rates of housing loans, outrageous construction costs, and scarcity of land, owning a single housing unit has become a mirage especially for low income class in Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan is facing a housing backlog of almost 10 million units that is growing at a rate of 0.6 million units every year. The urban housing shortage is estimated to 4 million housing units, while rural shortage is estimated 6 million housing units. To cut short, a serious intention is direly needed to provide housing units to lower the said gap.
What economic benefits can be brought by providing housing units especially to low income classes? According to a report, 97.6 percent of total population belongs to poor or low income class. It means upliftment of this class by giving them roof will obviously bring social, political, and economic prosperity of the country overall. Following four are top economic benefits of low income housing.
Healthier population means a healthier economy
Along with other factors like income and education, housing seriously impacts a person’s physical and mental well-being. People in low-income housing that’s poorly constructed or maintained may be exposed to water contamination and other environmental risks. These environmental threats lead to health issues for children, families, and seniors, which come at enormous cost to both the residents and their greater communities. Opposite to that, when people have access to quality affordable housing options, they are far less likely to face environmental threats. The more people can spend on adequate healthcare and fresh food, the better and healthier the local economy becomes.
More affordable housing creates more job opportunities
Another huge economic impact of affordable housing is the number of jobs it can create, both during the construction phases and ultimately through long-term societal growth. Let’s consider the economic impact of simply building a new affordable housing building can provide: the real estate company will need to hire manufacturing and construction companies in order to build. Then, the housing centers will need staffing for maintenance, operations, and leasing jobs to keep grounds well-managed and clean for the residents it needs to attract and retain. Though some of these jobs are more immediate than others, the long-term benefits of affordable housing are profound and can lead to meaningful change in society.
Lower crime rate thereby economic prosperity
Another long-term economic benefit of affordable housing is the chance to decrease crime rates. According to social differential theory proposed by Edwin Sutherland, most of crimes happen due to depleted conditions of neighborhoods (pathways, houses, congestion, traffic, etc.). Hence, providing decent housing units in such areas to lower income class will soar up social upliftment of residents; in result they will be mentally relax, work happily and economic prosperity will be an output.
Improved government infrastructure
By providing affordable housing units to low income people, they will get rid of rental payment. For most people, rent is the biggest and most important expense each month. When residents of affordable housing communities can make their rent payments, they’re able to spend more on local purchases. More residents will also be able to pay property taxes. This increased revenue will enable local government to improve infrastructure, provide more green space, and other elements of healthy cities that keep its residents healthy and safe. Healthy and safe residents obviously perform better in every walk of life. Hence, it will bring housing prosperity.