Authors: Michael Bodaken
Fannie Mae Foundation

The author defines preservation as the activity that maintains and improves affordable, multifamily rental homes. What is the reason to preserve affordable housing? There is not enough affordable, available housing to serve the majority of poor and near-poor households who live and work and rent in the United States. The lack of affordable housing is widespread. In no housing market in the nation — not Baltimore, not Iowa, not Texas, nowhere — can a household earning today's minimum wage reasonably afford a modest two-bedroom rental. While the rest of our nation is relatively well sheltered, the poor and elderly often reside in overcrowded or dilapidated housing or are spending a very large percentage of their discretionary income on shelter, placing rent in competition with other essentials, like food or health care. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than 5.4 million renter families and elderly pay more than half their incomes for housing or live in severely distressed housing.

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