“Is the American Dream out of our reach?” Cristina Chavez opens with this question as she addresses the most recent Student Voices essay prompt regarding the housing shortage in America. Cristina notes that home construction is at its lowest level in 60 years, and construction costs have doubled as the demand for housing has increased. Causes include social, political, environmental roadblocks and land pollution. In addition to proposed solutions like subsidies, Cristina addresses that another viable option to enhance the market would be to increase the incentives for individuals to enter the construction industry.
“This nation strives to be number one on the world stage; be it in sports, technology, business, etc. Unfortunately, there are many issues on the home front that have not been given sufficient political and social attention. One of these issues is the lack of affordable housing, specifically in the metro areas of the U.S.” This is a quote from Eric Zimdars, a Runner-Up in the Ark Law Group Student Voices Scholarship Program, as he addresses the current housing shortage affecting the country. Eric uses rationale that walks through the alarming math exemplifying just how difficult it is for a person making the minimum wage to afford the average housing in the U.S.
Amanda Leasure is the next highlighted Runner-Up in our Ark Law Group Student Voices Essay Scholarship contest, with the most recent prompt centered on the housing shortage causes and proposed solutions. She recognizes that prior generations are not willing to move out of their current homes for both financial and emotional regions. Emotionally, they are connected to the place where they have raised families, and financially, they likely benefit from the lowest-mortgage rates they’ve seen in their lifetimes. Between the lack of up- or down-sizing movements as generations transfer, it is becoming increasingly harder for millennials coming of age to join the ranks of homeownership.
Celebrating another talented student, we are recognizing Katelyn Reynolds as a Runner-Up in the Student Voices Scholarship Program. Katelyn dug into history and recognized that the deeper issue of overpopulation is one that originates back during the transition from hunter-gatherer days towards the developments of the first communities. She notes, “Although mankind’s numbers have multiplied exponentially, this same mentality of proximity, sharecropping and common production of goods remains integral to human society.” These are systemic issues that underlie metropolitan overcrowding to this day.
The Student Voices Scholarship recently asked students for thoughts around the state of the current housing shortage. One of the runner-up essays worthy of an honorable mention was submitted by Eli Briskin, who recognizes rising rental costs as an effect of the current housing crises. The impact has caused average monthly rents for small studio apartments in large metro areas like New York and San Francisco to run $2,400 - $3,500 a month on average.
When we asked students to discuss the housing shortage causes and solutions, Santiago Padrón responded with the insight that the more specific issue is truly that of an affordable housing shortage, not necessarily the lack of new builds in general.
Lack of metro area housing can trigger other emotional issues, such as longer commutes that diminish family time and cause employees to become tired, discouraged and less productive. This insight is provided by Noah Schubert, a recent runner-up in our Student Voices Scholarship program. Noah reaches for both creative and realistic solutions while addressing the prompt regarding the housing shortage in America.
The Ark Law Group Student Voices Scholarship Program presented a new question for college students as the Spring 2018 Essay Contest Prompt:
There is a housing shortage in many metro areas in the United States. What are some of the issues involved and some possible solutions?
Even with the strong economy, low unemployment, and rising home prices, there are homeowners in Washington State that are going through foreclosure every day.
The mediator issues a certificate to both borrower at the end of the foreclosure mediation process, indicating whether each party acted in good faith or bad faith. If a party did what was required of them to move the mediation process forward, they will receive a good faith certificate. However, if they did things that hinder the mediation process, such as turn in documents late or lie, they will receive a bad faith certificate.
If your bank has been issued a bad faith certificate in foreclosure mediation, then theoretically you have persuasive grounds to sue them. However, most struggling homeowners don’t have the funds to pay a litigation attorney and - even if they do - the banks always have more funds. Therefore we don’t usually recommend that borrowers try to sue their lenders.
There is not a lot of recourse for a homeowner whose lender has been issued a bad faith certificate in foreclosure mediation. Unfortunately, the Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Act provides no consequences such as fines or penalties. Theoretically, a borrower can sue a lender who has received a bad faith certificate, but this is not always practical for a borrower to do.