Newly formed households with or without children need and want better housing choices. Subprime lending and limited options in the housing market have led many first-time homebuyers with modest incomes to make bad choices. Homes need to be genuinely affordable and home buyers with limited resources need to be well prepared for the responsibilities of ownership. We also need to provide rental housing that offers younger households some of the benefits of single family housing without having to become home owners unwisely or prematurely.
A rapidly growing group of, elders need less expensive housing but want to remain connected to a diverse, intergenerational community. Many would prefer housing more like the single-family homes they have lived in most of their lives but they also need a flexible “menu” of supportive services and maintenance to remain independent.
Grandparents raising their grandchildren (because parents are unable to do so) represent a growing market opportunity. Recent estimates in Milwaukee County indicate that as many as 14,000 households have a grandparent as a head of household for families with children.
There is an ever-increasing number of single-parent households at all income levels. Housing that provides connections to a broader community expands the resources available to both parents and children.
People with disabilities
Housing for people with disabilities integrated into the larger community is preferred by the vast majority of consumers and policy makers and is much less expensive than institutional settings. Although we have made great strides over the past few decades, creative work still needs to be done to offer consumers with disabilities and their families better community-based housing options.
Entrepreneurs and Artists
More and more people want “live-work” housing that offers greater levels of flexibility about the relationship between home life and the work environment. We see great opportunity to develop live-work housing as part of economic development in emerging and revitalizing markets.
Many mature, responsible students want to be part of a community instead of living in a “student neighborhood.” There is also an underserved market of “returning students”–people in their 30s or 40s (or older) expanding their skills and job choices who need more affordable housing that requires less of their time to maintain.
We need better housing options for people whose service to the country have left them with physical or psychological disabilities and who need help reconnecting with the broader community.