Affordable for Whom?

Affordable for Whom

Affordable for Whom

As a human right, housing must be habitable, accessible, culturally adequate, healthy, proximate to what we need, secure from forced eviction and affordable.


Affordability means we pay no more than one-third of our monthly income. But that is impossible for most of those with extremely low income (ELI) — from 0-30% of Area Median Income (AMI). Seven out of ten of the 10.8 million renter households in that sector pay more than half of their incomes on rent, and for each 100 ELI renters, only 37 affordable and available homes exist. These households are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, or persons of color.


Yet, many housing programs or projects that are called “affordable” are targeted to those at higher income levels or above.


In August 2019, we and over 200 activists from across the country called out those programs in the first “Affordable for Whom?” national conference.  Sponsored by the Right to the City Alliance, New Economy Project, New York City Community Land Initiative and Partners for Dignity and Rights, participants spent two days sharing, discussing, and planning how community- controlled housing– rental, cooperative and homeownership housing on community owned land–could become more affordable to those who need it most.


From that came Creating Community Controlled, Deeply Affordable Housing: A Resource Toolkit for Community Activists & Allied Community-Based Housing Developers, published in Spring 2021. The toolkit featured in depth case studies of ten projects where community controlled housing reached ELI households, and where political mobilization had created new policy pathways to it.


This was followed in September 2021 with an Affordable for Whom Electronic Summit where Community controlled developers and activists shared their experiences on-line. Follow-up surveys indicated interest in further summits on deeply affordable housing creation, maintenance, and policy. Sign up here for Affordable for Whom updates, gatherings, and related information.

Affordable for Whom


From the Ground Up Zine

From the Ground Up Zine

Read this illustrated Zine containing the summary of our new From the Ground Up report.
From the Ground Up Zine

Advancing Housing Justice: Three Key Steps

In an article today in Nonprofit Quarterly, Human Rights Development Program Director Peter Sabonis writes: Bold and transformative organizing among low-income renters and the homeless is certainly making headway. But for these gains to be sustained, they must be matched …
AFW 1 Kamau Walton_1234

National Affordable for Whom Conference – 2019

The National Affordable for Whom Conference was held on August 1-2, 2019 at the City University Law School in Long Island City, NY. It brought together over 200 leaders, organizers, activists, policy advocates, community housing developers and academics together to …

The Transformative Potential of Community Land Trusts

From a September 29 article in Nonprofit Quarterly by Peter Sabonis, Human Rights Development Program Director at Partners for Dignity & Rights. Our country has been struggling with an affordable housing crisis for decades. Simply put, there is not enough …