USA Today Wants Government to Give Housing Help

     If you can’t afford to live in the place you are living in, the logical thing to do would be to take a downgrade and find something more affordable, right? That’s not an option reporters Noelle Knox and Barbara Hansen explored in the September 12 USA Today article about “paying for a roof over your head.”

     “Though every state has a housing finance agency, usually to aid first-time buyers, and many cities and some large businesses have housing assistance programs, today's census data show how enormous the need is,” Knox and Hansen wrote.

     All the solutions put forth by the USA Today article involved assistance from state and local governments that provide home-buyer subsidies. None of the solutions included rental housing, finding a lower-cost dwelling or finding a higher-paying job to put the individual in a position to afford the house they want.

     According to U.S. Census data, 37 percent of U.S. homeowners in 2006 had unaffordable housing. They spent at least 30 percent of their pre-tax income on housing. Thirty percent is the threshold at which the federal government says housing is unaffordable, according to the USA Today article.

     “We are not doing enough to offset the increase in unaffordability,” said Rachel Drew, research analyst at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

     There have been more extreme solutions proposed in the media. On August 23, the Associated Press touted a solution put forward by Pimco Chief Investment Officer and founder Bill Gross where the federal government would bailout homeowners in over their head.

     “Write some checks, bail ’em out, prevent a destructive housing deflation that Ben Bernanke is unable to do,” Gross wrote on his September blog. “And if you’re a Republican office holder, you’d win a new constituency of voters – ‘almost homeless homeowners’ – for generations to come.”