LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Make Room, a nationwide campaign to end the rental affordability crisis in America, launched today. The campaign kicked off with the online release of a private living room performance by Carly Rae Jepsen filmed last week for a family struggling to make their rent.
Every month, Make Room will stage concerts to raise awareness about the day-to-day struggles of families who rent. These intimate “Concerts for the 1st” – released on the first of the month, the day rent is due – will feature top musical talent performing in living rooms across America.
More than 11 million families, or one in four of the 42 million U.S. renter households, spend at least half their income on rent, forcing them to choose between paying their rent and paying for groceries, medicine, childcare and other essentials. These difficult tradeoffs impact renters’ long-term health, education and economic mobility.
With rents continuing to rise and incomes stagnating, the crisis is getting worse. Today, it impacts 9 million children and 1.8 million senior households living in urban, suburban and rural communities around the country.
A Make Room analysis of 2013 U.S. Census data finds that the problem is most severe in Florida, New Jersey, California and New York. In those states, 30 percent of renters pay at least half of their income toward housing costs, including rent and utilities.
The problem of unaffordable rent is also acute in other parts of the country. For example, in Ohio, Alabama, Maine, Tennessee, Montana and South Carolina, about 25 percent of renters pay at least half of their income toward rent and utilities.
Enterprise Community Partners Inc. is the sponsoring partner of the Make Room Campaign, with the collaboration and resources of partners such as The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
“The lack of rental homes is pervasive and affects working families, seniors and children across America. No community – be it urban, suburban or rural – is immune,” said Angela Boyd, vice president of advocacy at Enterprise Community Partners. “We can no longer afford to ignore the problem and are proud to launch the Make Room campaign to raise awareness and give a much-needed voice to families who rent their homes.”
“The Make Room campaign is a powerful and timely effort to shine a light on the fact that many, many people struggle to afford even a modest home,” said Julia Stasch, president of the MacArthur Foundation, which has supported efforts to bolster affordable rental housing for more than 15 years. “This is especially troubling as evidence is mounting that a decent, stable, affordable home matters in how well children do in school, in the health and well-being of people of all ages, and is often the foundation for family economic success.”
“We are in the middle of a silent rental housing crisis in America,” said Ron Terwilliger, chairman of the Board of Enterprise Community Partners and chairman emeritus of Trammell Crow Residential. “It’s time to shine a spotlight on the rental housing crisis and move it out of the shadows. Without a comprehensive and sustained response from the public and private sectors, the burden of unaffordable rent will only grow, undermining the stability of millions of American families.”
“We cannot address our nation’s most intractable social problems if we don’t address families’ needs for quality homes they can afford,” said the actor Edward Norton, a longtime board member of Enterprise Community Partners. “We need to put rental housing on the national agenda so that millions of Americans can have a real opportunity to succeed.”
For more information about Make Room, please visit www.makeroomusa.org.
About Make Room:
Make Room is a campaign to end America’s rental housing crisis, giving voice to the 11 million families who are struggling to make rent. Working with public, private and nonprofit partners, Make Room raises awareness and advances solutions. Ending the rental housing crisis means building a stronger nation for us all. Learn more at www.makeroomusa.org.
About Enterprise Community Partners:
Enterprise works with partners nationwide to build opportunity. We create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to jobs, good schools, health care and transportation. We lend funds, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created nearly 320,000 homes, invested $16 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.com or www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.
About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. The Foundation’s How Housing Matters research initiative seeks to explore whether, and if so how, having a decent, stable, affordable home leads to strong families and vibrant communities. Research is showing that stable, quality housing has value beyond the provision of shelter; it improves school performance, diminishes health problems for children and adults, and decreases psychological stress. More information is at www.macfound.org/programs/how-housing-matters.