B/CS Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to building a community where everyone has a great home they can afford. Our program helps local low-income families become homeowners through sweat equity and a no-interest mortgage. Over the past thirty years, we have adapted to meet our community’s needs, including adding a repair program that recycles existing homes to serve new families, and now raising funds to help Habitat homeowners who have lost a job or wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also advocating for elected leaders to do more to promote housing affordability. Through the Cost of Home campaign, we partner with Habitat International to advocate for policies and programs that show promise to lower housing costs for millions of American families. We do this because we understand that our program—although a great solution for many families—does not serve all the need in our community.
We recognize that housing supply is influenced by policies at every level of government and we are thrilled to see the City of Bryan adopt its Midtown Area Plan. Three components of the Plan that we believe will improve housing affordability in the City of Bryan are mixed-use development, walkable neighborhoods and modest homes on smaller lots. These efforts are so important to our mission that we publicly supported the Plan and published an opinion editorial in The Eagle newspaper.
One reason why many larger cities have become unaffordable is because they did not take steps such as those outlined in this Plan. Some people may believe Bryan is still relatively affordable compared to other cities, but housing affordability can erode over time. In a community without adequate housing supply, housing costs first impact the lowest income residents. If these issues are not dealt with, soon middle class families can become cost-burdened, writes Jenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institute.
At Habitat for Humanity, we often reference Galatians 5:14, which is God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” To solve our community’s housing problems, we must love the people who cannot afford to be our neighbors. When we do this, we can come together and make our community one where everyone can afford the cost of a good home. Thank you to the City of Bryan and all the community members who worked on the Midtown Area Plan for moving us in this direction.