Myths & Facts

Myths—important sources of meaning in all societies—provide shared rationales for community members to behave in common ways; they have a strong moral component, with clear lines between right and wrong. Although myths are sometimes positive, they can also serve as shields for deeper and uglier motivations: racism, fear of outsiders, greed.

When people argue against affordable housing, they often use myths to convince decision-makers that the residents don’t belong there. Traffic will be too heavy and schools will grow overcrowded. The buildings will clash with existing neighborhoods. The people won’t fit in. Maybe they'll even be criminals.

Opponents often truly believe these myths. But it's essential to counter these myths with facts. We desperately need new affordable housing to reverse recent increases in overcrowding and overpayment. We also need housing to support economic recovery; to accommodate new workers and their families; and to economize on infrastructure costs, while preserving open space and cutting down on the distance between new homes and new jobs.

Fortunately, the facts of recent experiences with affordable housing often contradict the myths. We can now begin to rely on this recent experience to reassure concerned residents that the myths don't have to come true.

This is the 21st century there is a shortage of affordable housing. We must stop believing the pervasive myth: that we can do nothing to create affordable housing.

Many cities, including suburbs, have stopped believing that they lack the creativity, resources, and will to house all those who need shelter. And as a result, they have established that, in fact, communities can become more open, more accepting, and better places for old timers, new immigrants, or their own children.

Myth 1: Affordable housing will cause too much traffic.

Myth 2: Affordable housing and low income residents drain the city of its resources.

Myth 3: People who live in affordable housing won't fit into my neighborhood.

Myth 4: Residents of affordable housing move too often to be stable community members

Myth 5: Affordable housing reduces property values.

Myth 6: High-density and affordable housing undermine community character.

Myth 7: Affordable housing increase crime.