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Immigrants Provide Crucial Services in America; Here's why They Can't Find Affordable Housing

Escalating rental expenses disproportionately affect minorities and immigrants, hindering their ability to pursue improved housing arrangements.
Cover Image Source: Rising Housing Costs | Photo by Ketut Subiyanto | Pexels
Cover Image Source: Rising Housing Costs | Photo by Ketut Subiyanto | Pexels

The recent surge in rental prices across the United States has created significant challenges for young people looking for affordable housing. Among those affected, immigrants without citizenship status are encountering unique hardships, even as they play crucial roles in the U.S. workforce, often in hazardous occupations.

IMage Source: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto |Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto | Pexels

Ensuring affordable accommodation is the least that the country can do following an influx of immigrants who make lives of citizens easier by providing crucial services.

Duing this time, Nashville emerged as one of the South's swiftest-growing hubs for immigrants. Hosting over 37% of the state's Latino population, the city has served as a primary destination for Latinos and other foreign-born residents since the early 2000s.

Housing Market Challenges

Over the past fifteen years, renting has become increasingly challenging for Americans nationwide. The housing market collapse during the 2008–09 crisis resulted in many individuals losing their homes and transitioning to rental properties. Additionally, some faced obstacles in obtaining loans for home purchases.

By 2015, nearly 43 million families had transitioned to renting, with approximately 37% of American households currently renting. As of 2020, over 46% of renters spent over 30% of their income on rent alone.

Image Source: Photo by Travis Saylor | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Travis Saylor | Pexels

In addition to that, the average monthly rent in the 50 largest U.S. cities was $1,575 in June 2021, marking an 8.1% increase from June 2020. Rent affordability remains a significant challenge for minority communities, with approximately 46% of renter households led by African Americans overspending on rent compared to 34% of white households.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated housing uncertainties, particularly for people of colour, due to longstanding policies and disparities in health and economic resources. Renters from minority backgrounds experienced higher rent burdens and were at increased risk of eviction

Immigration and Housing Challenges

Immigration plays a crucial role in bolstering tax revenues and filling job vacancies, contributing to population growth in the United States. Following a decline during the pandemic, immigration surged again in 2023, with 1.1 million new residents entering the country. Currently, 7.15% of Americans are those who were born abroad.

Pexels | Karolina Grabowska
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

In the early 2000s, Nashville, Tennessee experienced a significant influx of immigrants, particularly among the Latino population. Approximately 21% of households in these areas allocate more than half of their income towards rent. Gentrification has also forced many Black and Somali residents, who were once homeowners, into the rental market.

Some immigrants resort to renting places from unscrupulous landlords due to challenges in accessing government housing assistance. Moreover, religious beliefs against interest lead some Muslims to avoid bank loans. However, newer housing developments, particularly in suburban areas offer more affordable options.

Around 28% of housing in neighbourhoods with a high concentration of non-citizen foreign-born residents was constructed after 2000, compared to 23% across Nashville.

Savings and investments are a crucial part of anyone's life keeping in mind the inflation and uncertainity|Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Pixabay | Pexels

Strategies for Mitigating Rent Burdens

Addressing rent pressure primarily involves increasing the availability of housing and affordable options. However, community opposition, often citing concerns about crime and traffic, poses challenges. Nashville faces similar obstacles in addressing housing expenses, which have been a contentious issue in recent years.

A 2023 report recommends forming alliances with educational, religious, and medical organizations possessing suitable properties for habitation.