Affordable housing is perhaps the built capital issue of our generation. In his “Community Capitals Framework,” Lionel J. Beaulieu defines built capital as “the infrastructure of the community – the basic set of facilities, services and physical structures needed by a community.” In Yellow Springs, as in so many growing towns, access to safe, affordable housing (many “physical structures” needed in this community in particular) is lacking. Having a home starts with having a safe, clean, permanent physical space: a housing unit.
As mentioned earlier, Yellow Springs has issues with diversity. Namely, there is little: 82% of the village identifies as white, 13% as black or African-American, and 2% as Asian (US Census, 2014). In the mid-1990s, the Village Council identified rising housing prices as a barrier to community diversity and challenged community organizations to find ways to create new housing. Yellow Springs, population XX, has 1,702 occupied housing units, 1,146 of which are owner-occupied and 556 of which are renter-occupied. There are 118 vacant housing units (US Census, 2014). Occupied housing is up from 2010, when 993 of the 1,525 occupied units were owner-occupied and 531 were renter-occupied. The number of housing units is on the rise, in part because of a coordinated community development initiative.
Yellow Springs Home, Inc. is a local community development corporation that focuses on issues related to affordable housing. Home, Inc. builds and maintains permanent, ecologically sustainable affordable housing units in Yellow Springs. The organization uses a “partnerships in communities” approach to secure land for affordable housing (coordinating with the Village Council, Antioch College, and other CBOs), as well as depending on external linkages to help projects start up. Home, Inc. has received fundings, loans and technical support from the Ohio Housing Finance Association, the Ohio Community Development Finance Fund and the USDA Rural Development loan program (“Our History”, 2016). Back in 2015, Yellow Springs established a new zoning code that incentivized new affordable housing units and in-fill density.