Airbnbs are often a great lodging option for vacationers, as they give the feeling of being a local and are usually cheaper than traditional hotels. While these short-term rentals are appealing to many, they significantly contribute to the U.S. Housing crisis. Airbnbs have played such a prominent role in this crisis that their impact was recently dubbed the “Airbnb effect.” In Hawai’i, laws had to be put in place to reduce the damage done by these popular vacation accommodations.
The solution to the U.S. housing crisis may seem evident at a surface level: just build more affordable housing. This solution, however, is not as simple as it seems. The United States is not experiencing a housing shortage; many Americans lack the income to afford what’s currently on the market, giving the illusion that the nation is lacking housing. So, how can we ensure homes for all if the issue does not lie in home quantity.?
Eleven million people, around a quarter of California’s population, live in high-risk wildfire zones. Wildfires make the housing market even smaller and more expensive because of California’s lack of affordable housing. According to the research firm Headwaters Economics, more than 3,600 structures, including homes, burned in California wildfires during 2021, and between 2005 and 2020 nearly 60,000 structures were lost to fires in the state. Most people would assume that wildfires would decrease home value, but because of their location and scarce supply of homes, housing prices keep going up, which leads to more people at risk of experiencing homelessness.
Many individuals believe that we simply have to build more homes to reduce the number of people living on the streets. This, however, is a common misconception. Homelessness is far more than a housing issue; healthcare, economics, and education are just a few of the factors that play a part in America’s homelessness crisis. The interconnected relationship between these factors makes solving homelessness particularly difficult.
After World War II and the economic boom of the 1950s, the federal government began the construction of the U.S. interstate system under the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. This allowed states and cities to be connected like never before. However, while it may have allowed more people to travel longer distances, it also displaced many people and necessitated owning a car.