New study finds healthcare workers priced out of homeownershipMortgagePress.comregistered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing aides, physical therapists, home health aides, elementary school teachers, police officers, janitors Healthcare workers are priced out of homeownership in the majority of U.S. metropolitan areas nationwide, according to a new study of more than 200 metropolitan areas and 60 occupations released as part of a joint announcement by the Center for Housing Policy and Homes for Working Families. Specifically, the groundbreaking Center for Housing Policy study, "Paycheck to Paycheck: Wages and the Cost of Housing in America," found that licensed practical nurses would not qualify to purchase the median priced home in an astounding 187 of the 202 metro areas studied, followed by registered nurses at 115 and physical therapists at 104, while nursing aides and home health aides are priced out of homeownership in every metro area studied. To address these and other housing challenges that key community workers face, Homes for Working Families has released "Increasing the Availability of Affordable Homes: A Handbook of High-Impact State and Local Solutions," which identifies 22 proven high-impact policies that state and local leaders can implement to expand the availability of affordable homes within their jurisdictions. "With Americans living longer and the baby boomer generation aging, our communities will need more healthcare workers to meet the growing demand. However, if these workers cannot afford to become homeowners, as this study shows, it will likely become difficult to attract a sufficient workforce," said Center for Housing Policy Chairman Kent W. Colton, president of K Colton LLC and senior scholar at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. "It is also clear from this study that housing affordability concerns stretch beyond the healthcare field to a spectrum of other occupations." According to Beverly L. Barnes, executive director of Homes for Working Families, "The lack of affordable homes for America's working families is nothing short of a crisis, but solutions do exist. We are determined to bring those solutions to the forefront and provide decision-makers with practical policies they can adopt using tools such as our new resource handbook." Paycheck to Paycheck analyses Healthcare workers The center's study found that overall in the United States, an annual income of $84,957 was needed to qualify to purchase the median priced home at $248,000 in the third quarter of 2006. Yet, during this period the median annual salaries of registered nurses ($58,640), licensed practical nurses ($37,127), nursing aides ($24,745), physical therapists ($62,417) and home health aides ($20,414) all fell short. Significant rental findings for healthcare workers in the 210 metro markets studied reveal that nursing aides cannot afford to rent a typical one-bedroom home in 80 of the metro areas or a typical two-bedroom home in 147 of the metro areas studied. Home health aides cannot afford to rent a one-bedroom home in 144 of the metro areas or a two-bedroom home in 201 of the metro areas studied. Additional community occupations As part of its latest "Paycheck to Paycheck" study, the Center for Housing and Policy also performed a housing affordability analysis for the community workers on which the popular annual study traditionally focused in the pastelementary school teachers, police officers, nurses (data provided above), retail salespersons and janitors. The study found that police officers would not qualify to purchase the median priced home in 161 of the 202 metro areas studied, followed by elementary school teachers at 157 and retail salespersons and janitors who are priced out of homeownership in all the metro areas studied. Nationwide, the median annual salaries of elementary school teachers ($47,104), police officers ($45,780), licensed practical nurses ($37,127), retail salespersons ($24,597) and janitors ($23,724) all fell below the $84,957 annual income needed to qualify to purchase the median priced home of $248,000. On the rental side, significant findings for the 210 metro markets studied reveal that janitors cannot afford to rent a typical one-bedroom home in 91 of the metro areas or a two-bedroom home in 177 of the metro areas studied. For retail salespersons, the typical one-bedroom home is unaffordable in 78 of the metro areas and the typical two-bedroom home is unaffordable in 162 of the metro areas studied. New resource handbook solutions "Increasing the Availability of Affordable Homes" offers solutions to the growing crisis identified in the "Paycheck to Paycheck" study by detailing strategies and policies that can be implemented at the state and local levels to begin increasing the availability of homes affordable to working families. The handbook, prepared by the Center for Housing Policy Executive Director Jeffrey Lubell, is part of Homes for Working Families' efforts to increase access to homes affordable for working families through meaningful policy change at the local, state and national levels. Six strategic categories and 22 diverse policies The user-friendly policy handbook serves as a practical reference tool for state and local leaders - including elected and appointed officials, employers and other decision-makersby first identifying six broad strategies for increasing the availability of affordable homes and then detailing 22 diverse policies within those strategic categories. The six strategic categories are: 1. Expanding the availability of sites for the development of affordable homes; 2. Reducing red tape and other regulatory barriers to affordable homes; 3. Harnessing the power of strong housing markets; 4. Generating additional capital for affordable homes; 5. Preserving and recycling the resources that make homes affordable; and 6. Empowering residents to purchase and retain market-rate homes. The handbook highlights 22 diverse policy solutions such as making publicly owned land available for the development of affordable homes, revising zoning laws, leveraging employers' interest in the creation of affordable homes and using shared equity mechanisms to create mixed-income communities. "Increasing the Availability of Affordable Homes" is among the first tools Homes for Working Families has created to promote state- and local-level solutions that mitigate the affordable housing crisis. Homes for Working Families will make the handbook available to opinion leaders and other advocates on its Web site and will also use the handbook as a "best practices" guide as it focuses on advancing policy changes in some of the nation's highest-cost housing markets. For more information, visit www.nhc.org or www.homesforworkingfamilies.org.