rebeccaRebecca Buford executive director of Tenants to Homeowners, the Lawrence Community Housing Trust Program, believes people who own their own homes have a better life in almost every area. But NOT, she said, if they are housing burdened.

Paying more than 30% of one’s income for housing is called housing burdened and causes families to neglect other parts of their lives such as medical care, to deprive children, and just lower the general quality of life.

“According to the latest economic data,” Buford said “average Lawrence income is the lowest of any metro area in the state and the cost of living is the highest. This means that many hardworking families, especially young families,  cannot afford to buy their own homes.

“Affordable housing sustains communities and Tenants to Homeowners is creating affordable homeownership opportunities for the Lawrence workforce.”

The group offers subsidies for first time buyers to create a starter market.  For those who are income eligible and complete other requirements, they provide homes in trust. There are currently  75  such homes all over Lawrence.

“I work for the next generation,” Buford said. “If we had more affordable housing we wouldn’t need so many social services.”

Since 1992 Tenants to Homeowners has acquired, built or rehabbed over 400 units of affordable housing. in Lawrence.

They are also committed to senior housing. Cedarwood Senior Cottages will be 14 units and the first rental project designed to address the fastest growing adult population—seniors aged 62 or older—to be completed by the end of 2016.

“There are 20 million retirees  in the nation today and the number will keep growing,” Buford said. “We need to help them too.