Housing is Infrastructure

What does infrastructure mean to you? Over the last several years, housing advocates have focused on an important missing piece to the infrastructure puzzle: housing. We pulled together some examples of how our national partners have framed housing as infrastructure that you can adopt in your own advocacy efforts and messaging. 

“When we commit substantial federal investment toward public and affordable housing, we revitalize communities, create new jobs, and help break the cycle of poverty. Simply put: housing IS infrastructure. Like roads and bridges, affordable housing is a long-term asset that provides a safe, quality living environment for families.”
~ Council of Large Public Housing Authorities

Affordable rental housing should be viewed as an essential infrastructure need for communities in the same vein as roads, bridges, parks, and sanitary water. Framing affordable housing as infrastructure also supports ancillary objectives, like building public support for inclusionary housing policies whereby affordable rentals are produced concurrent with market rate housing.
~ National Low Income Housing Coalition

Public Housing, like roads and bridges, is a long-term public asset and a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure…Investing in public housing infrastructure helps to provide a decent quality of life for families, creates jobs, and acts as a regional economic generator. Each dollar spent on capital and maintenance funding generates $2.12 in total regional spending.”         
~ Public Housing Authorities Directors Association

Affordable housing is a vital component to infrastructure investment. The construction and preservation of our country’s affordable housing stock will strengthen productivity and economic growth, promote economic mobility, and provide greater household stability and improved wellness outcomes.
~ Affordable Housing Finance

The National Council of State Housing Agencies lay out five points, demonstrating the connection between housing and infrastructure and housing as infrastructure’s broader impact on our communities. 

  • Right now, high housing costs constrain opportunities for families to increase earnings, causing slower GDP growth.  
  • Each dollar invested in affordable housing infrastructure boosts local economies and creates public-private partnerships that lift resident earnings and local tax revenue, as well as support job creation and retention.  
  • An investment in affordable housing infrastructure is a direct investment in America’s families. Increasing and preserving affordable housing and rental assistance — especially in areas connected to good schools, well-paying jobs, healthcare, and transportation — helps families climb the economic ladder.  
  • Housing programs build vital public infrastructure.   
  • The lack of affordable housing is also thwarting economic growth and job creation in rural America. Rural business leaders cite the lack of affordable housing as a key issue in attracting and maintaining a vital workforce. 

The critical importance of a home to a person’ s health, safety, well-being, education, and economic and job opportunities cannot be under-stated. Homes are the essence of our community fabric, community development efforts, and built environment. We need to acknowledge and teach others that housing is infrastructure and it is one of the most important, if not the most important, component of infrastructure we have in our communities. 

We hope these framing examples help you in your efforts to expand and preserve housing that is affordable for low income families in your community.