This is a post written for ReThink: Why Housing Matters, an elephant partner. We’re honored to work with a group who is this dedicated to supporting families, building communities and offering enormous benefit to those in need of an affordable place to call home. ~ Ed
Watch this film and rethink your views of public housing.
When I think of “home,” I envision a safe, calm, warm space where I can raise my children and have extended family over for Sunday dinner.
What many of us don’t consider alongside the warm and fuzzy is the practical side. Is the space where we’ll make memories affordable? Will we be able to make rent, or will we be stressed out and on the verge of homelessness? Is the neighborhood safe enough?
These kinds of struggles are a harsh reality for many Americans.
To afford just a one-bedroom rental, a person earning the federal minimum wage would need to work 90 hours per week.
According to new research from ReThink: Why Housing Matters, an initiative aimed at changing the stereotypes around public housing, more than half of Americans think if someone is employed in a steady, full-time job, they will surely be able to earn enough to afford a decent and safe place to live.
However, the numbers just don’t add up. The average person would need 2.7 full-time jobs for a two-bedroom rental! That’s impossible—especially for families with single parents.
More than half of Americans would not want public housing in their community.
Despite the fact that 80 percent of Americans believe there is not enough public housing and many say they would support public housing in their own city or town, only a quarter of those polled believe people who reside in public housing are hard-working members of society.
Public housing provides homes and services for approximately two million people in the United States. What some people are not aware of is that public housing agencies provide their residents access to affordable food, employment opportunities, skills training, health counseling and other life-changing services.
What is encouraging is that Americans are calling on the government to step up. They realize the government does not provide enough public housing options for those who can’t afford rent. In fact, only 17 percent—the fewest to date—believe the government does enough to support public housing in their local city or town. While the need for supportive housing grows, the need for the government to step in is much greater.
It’s time to change the misperceptions surrounding public housing.
Our Journey Home, a documentary produced by Emmy-winning company Stillmotion and narrated by ReThink Ambassador Jewel, tells the stories of real people living in public housing.
The one-hour film follows three individuals as they strive to support their families, further their education and careers, give back to their communities and have a place to call home.
“Sometimes, when something’s pulled out from under you, you just don’t know when it’s gonna stop,” says Stephanie, a survivor of domestic abuse and a current resident of public housing. “Nobody can escape homelessness. I mean, people live paycheck to paycheck. Anybody who does that is subject to it. My resume looks pretty good. I’ve had a few $125,000 years. I still ended up in a mission. I still ended up in a homeless shelter. It can happen to anyone.”
Our Journey Home challenges perceptions about people in need of housing and examines the role we all play in supporting those in need of a safe and stable place to call home. The film is touring the United States to help further the conversation of public housing in local communities, and could be headed to your area soon.
We encourage you to watch and share Our Journey Home with your friends, family and professional networks. You can watch below or at www.ReThinkHousing.org. View the trailer and list of local screenings here and learn more about how to bring this film to a theater near you.
Editor: Catherine Monkman