Finding a Place to Call Home

Finding a Place to Call Home

The lack of affordable and safe housing in York is impacting thousands of residents in our County.
The 2023 State of the Nation’s Housing Report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reinforces what local agencies already know: America is experiencing record disparities in income and significant housing shortages.

Allocating over 30% of your income on housing is considered a cost-burden. Cost-burdened renters rose to 21.6 million American households in 2021, with households of color disproportionality impacted.

Fortunately, Affordable Housing Advocates (AHA) is dedicated to addressing and alleviating this stressor for York County residents.

Through a THRIVE grant from YCCF, a new Housing Coordinator position was created to connect people with housing resources. Within two months, AHA’s coordinator helped 56 people secure housing.

Twelve out of the 56 were unhoused at the time, meaning they neither owned nor rented a place of their own, and were staying with a relative, friend, or at a shelter.

The success of finding a home often depended on providing property owners with information and encouraging them to consider low-income applicants. Through these discussions, the housing coordinator learned that many landlords were unaware of Section 8 housing subsidies – a federal program that provides supplemental income to landlords who provide housing to low-income individuals.

It became apparent to AHA’s housing coordinator that people simply didn’t know where to turn for help and many property owners were unaware of how they could help tenants.

When AHA staff first connect with a client, they’re in survival mode and can only focus on their current daily living conditions. But once they were connected to the housing coordinator and found a place to live, they could focus on their long-term survival goals.

“When you have a home, it becomes an anchor to your community,” shared Joyce Santiago, Executive Director of AHA. Not many people are fortunate enough to know that joyous feeling of receiving keys to a new home. “When our clients receive their key, it opens the door to several possibilities and opportunities for success. And we’re happy to be a small part of that journey.”