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Is Housing in Your City Getting Unaffordable? Here’s How You Can Help

Dismayed by your city’s lack of affordable housing? Want to help counter the damage of urban renewal? Consider volunteering at your local public housing agency.
Opened in 2017, Bayside Anchor has 36 affordable and nine market rate units. It was the first new apartment building the Portland Housing Authority in Maine had constructed in 45 years.
Opened in 2017, Bayside Anchor has 36 affordable and nine market rate units. It was the first new apartment building the Portland Housing Authority in Maine had constructed in 45 years.Jeffrey Stevensen Photography

At a time when inner cities are facing mounting pressure to preserve affordable housing, the nation’s 1 million public housing apartments are at a critical turning point, with aging properties, a multi-billion dollar backlog of deferred maintenance, declining federal funds and pressures from private-sector developers who are salivating at the chance to buy them out.

And yet, for every shocking evening news story of public housing’s moldy apartments or leaking roofs, there are thousands of quiet, unheralded successes: families staying together, scholarships won, down payments made and homelessness avoided. Public housing programs offer millions of people a life-saving quantum of stability and security amidst the rapidly-changing landscapes of our increasingly unaffordable cities.