Housing is considered affordable if a family spends no more 30% of their income to live there.
If housing costs, such as mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, or rent exceed 30% of income, it is considered a cost burden. Households facing this burden are challenged to afford food, clothing, transportation, childcare, education, medical costs, and other vital needs.
Safe, stable, affordable housing is a keystone of vibrant, healthy communities. It impacts all aspects of life, from child development to long term health outcomes (University of Michigan Ginsberg Center). Over the past two decades, growth of this vital resource has been stagnating, making housing affordability a growing concern in countless communities throughout the United States, including here in Washtenaw County. Click here to learn more about the issue in Washtenaw County.
Watch the short video below and hear from Meredith Perry, a Washtenaw County social worker, about the inability to save and purchase a home in Ann Arbor.
Housing Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis
Washtenaw County is committed to maintaining diverse housing options for all people, regardless of their income, and implements multiple programs and policies to increase access to affordable housing to ensure that families and individuals have safe and affordable places to live county-wide.
The Housing Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis for Washtenaw County (2015) notes that Ann Arbor housing costs continue to increase, making the area of the county with the most jobs, educational opportunities and amenities unaffordable and unavailable to a majority of the county's population. Learn more about local affordable housing goals and progress made toward such goals.
As a result, lower-income residents move to more affordable areas like Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. In the case of low-income renters or owners, that results in a concentration of poverty in several neighborhoods in these communities.
Learn what is affordable in Washtenaw County here.
Affirmatively Furthering Housing (AFFH)
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a locally driven assessment of access to fair housing and community assets. It is also a tool for local governments to address and reduce residential segregation and areas of concentrated poverty. In collaboration with the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, the Washtenaw Urban County made recommendations that focus on undoing historically biased and exclusionary policies, improving access to opportunity (i.e. schools, quality housing, jobs and transportation), addressing issues in areas that are identified as racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, and tracking potential displacement. Learn more.
Affordable Housing Geographic Information System (GIS)
The Affordable Housing Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping data was created specifically for the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) and includes U.S. Census information related to housing and demographics. Learn more.
Affordable Housing Toolkit
In Washtenaw County, 51% of renter households spend more than 30% of their incomes on housing. This creates a burden on household finances, making it challenging to afford food, clothing, transportation, child care, education, medical costs, and other needs. A number of tools are available to support preservation and development of affordable housing in local communities. Learn more.