A wave of residential projects rising across the country is meeting an insatiable demand, given the estimated shortage of 7.3 million homes that are accessible to low-income renters. Perkins Eastman teams from coast to coast are becoming a part of a growing movement to address the crisis.
Nationwide, 60 percent of all workers earn less than what’s required to afford a two-bedroom rental home, according to a June report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which also cited the affordable-home shortage. In the same month, Private Equity Real Estate (PERE) reported that 85 percent of new rental housing being developed in the US is priced in the luxury bracket, though just 15 percent of renters can afford it. “We believe a robust, unmet demand persists for quality housing at attainable rents for the large and growing population of essential workforce residents,” the head of investment management at Greystar told PERE.
This tracks with the work Perkins Eastman is undertaking in cities from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, in the east to San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver out west – all large, urban markets where affordable housing shortages are particularly acute. “What we’re trying to do as a practice is be the leaders and stewards for design principles and quality of life for affordable housing,” says Principal Steve Line of VIA—A Perkins Eastman studio, who works in Oakland, CA. His team is writing guidelines for transit-oriented developments that incorporate affordable housing. “As designers, we can really help advance a conversation on what makes these places great to live in over the long term.”
These conversations take multiple forms depending on a region or city’s approach to boosting its affordable housing supply. Each time, it involves a different mix of government policy and investment with private development and equity. Perkins Eastman has provided a range of services such as consulting, feasibility studies, planning, urban design, architecture, and interiors, according to each need.