Monthly Archives

November 2014


Affordable housing myths

Most of us have a general understanding of the meaning of affordable housing. Some people are in support of it, others indifferent or in cases don’t agree with its concept at all. It was not until I became a volunteer with Habitat of Humanity this past summer that I became aware of the “myths of affordable housing”. All my life I been fortunate enough to have a roof to live in, a secure space to grow as an individual in order to become the person that I am today. I strongly believe that being able to live in a house is a basic right needed for individuals to become an active and productive member in our society.

There are seven myths about affordable housing:

MYTH #1: Affordable housing drives down property values.

REALITY: Affordable housing has no negative impact on home prices, or on the speed or frequency of sale of neighboring homes. In fact, recent studies of very-low-income family housing units in Wisconsin and the Chicago area show exactly the opposite – the presence of affordable housing in a neighborhood actually had a positive impact on property values, even when they are located in affluent areas.


MYTH #2: Affordable housing looks “cheap and undesirable.”

REALITY: Builders of affordable housing must comply with all the same restrictions on design and construction standards as market-rate projects. Often, because affordable housing projects frequently rely on some public money, they have to comply with additional restrictions and higher standards than market rate housing.

MYTH #3: Affordable housing hurts the quality of local schools and lowers standardized test scores.

REALITY: The opposite is actually true. Without affordable housing many families become trapped in a cycle of rising rents and have to move frequently to find living space they can afford. That means their children are not able to stay in the same school for long, resulting in lower test scores on standardized tests. It also means children are able to build the long-term relationships with peers, teachers, and mentors, that are key to increasing performance in elementary and secondary schools. It also increases the likelihood that children will be able to attend college.

MYTH #4:  Affordable housing is a burden on taxpayers and municipalities.

REALITY: The reality is that affordable housing enhances local tax revenues. Instead of low or no payment of taxes by distressed properties, affordable housing owners actively contribute to the local economy in the taxes they pay.

MYTH #5: Affordable housing brings increased crime.

REALITY: There are no studies that show affordable housing brings crime to neighborhoods. In fact, families who own their own homes add stability to a neighborhood and lower the crime rate.

MYTH #6: Affordable housing is just another government hand-out.

REALITY: It isn’t the poor who benefit the most from federal housing subsidies, it’s the wealthy homeowner. Homeowners receive tax deductions for mortgage interests and a similar write-off for property taxes paid. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2003 these subsidies cost the federal government $87.8 billion, while building and subsidizing affordable housing cost only $41.5 billion.

MYTH #7: Affordable housing only benefits the very poor, everyone else pays.

REALITY: Some of the people impacted by a lack of affordable housing include employers, seniors, poor people, immigrants, low-wage or entry-level workers, firefighters, police officers, military personnel, and teachers. The lack of affordable housing means taxes revenues are not in place to improve roads, schools, or air quality. It means businesses struggle to retain qualified workers, and lowers the amount of money available to spend in those businesses. Affordable housing isn’t about doing something to help the poor, it’s about improving business and raising the standards of working- and middle-class families, and nation at large.

Keeping this in mind I can only hope that you become more familiar with affordable housing and decide to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, raising awareness among your friends and family. And above all avoid the continuation of myths in our community regarding affordable housing.

Evelyn Jacome-Arroyo~ Facilitator





Have a Good Thanksgiving Break!

Hello, BUSN200! This semester is moving along so quickly, and we are beginning to put together final projects (by the way congrats to all the photo winners who don’t have to complete a final project!). Please remember to still look back on the things you have learned this semester, and the experiences you have gained. We hope everyone has enjoyed their services and learned to appreciate these chances.
On another note, Thanksgiving is in just two days! I hope you all are excited to eat a big meal, spend time with friends and family, and appreciate the many gifts you have been given, received, and earned.
This is a great time to utilize all the gifts you have been given to help those who are less fortunate. It could be something as simple as inviting someone to your Thanksgiving meal who isn’t able to attend any other table this year. It could be donating food to a family who can’t afford a big turkey. Just remember that Thanksgiving is a time to be appreciative and begin the season of giving.
Be safe as you travel to whatever destination, and have a good Thanksgiving break!
Erin Smith~BUSN200 Facilitator

What We Gain Through Service

As the semester approaches its end it is a good time to look back and reflect on what we have all accomplished through our service.  I remember back when I volunteered with the CDC (Child Development Center) during my semester of service that I felt this sense of gratitude and accomplishment as it was all coming to an end.  My reasoning for this was because I had something to be thankful for, these children and the staff of the CDC had given me the opportunity to serve more than myself and see a continuing change from one week to the next.  Now, this change is much easier to identify within young children because that is at a very developmental stage in their lives, but in any service there is a change and it can be seen, you just need to know where to look.

I remember Dr. Gorski’s orientation talk, both when I took the class myself and when I sat in as a facilitator.  One thing she said that really resonated with me was how far our service can reach out.  It does not just affect those directly involved, but also the families of those, those working alongside you, the community, etc.  There are an infinite amount of people who could benefit from the actions of an individual.  To me this concept is remarkable.

In the last two months of the semester I have seen a few of my students who truly feel changed by their service and notice the impact that they can have on others.  I am thankful that there is a program such as BUSN200 that gives students a push to do something they may have never done in their lives.  I know for a fact that if someone had told me back in high school that I would spend 40+ hours volunteering with two different groups of toddlers and that it would also be my first pick that I would not have believed them.  However, it is because programs like this push students to leave their comfort zones that we are awarded the chance to make a difference both in others and within ourselves.

Dylan Bakken

BUSN200 Facilitator


Photo Contest

It’s that time of the semester again, when the BUSN200 photo contest commences. Students have submitted a variety of pictures illustrating their service involvement. As always, they are beaming with joy as they complete the remainder of their service hours. There are two components to this contest; both with very appealing rewards.

In the first component, BUSN200 staff select the Top 15 photos. The winners are exempt from the Final Creative Reflection Project requirement. Although the winners are except from the creative project, they will attend class four and support their fellow classmates as they present their final projects.

The second component of the photo contest takes place on Facebook. All the submitted photos will be posted to the BUSN200 Facebook page, and the one photo that receives the most “Likes” by Study Monday will receive a $100 gift card. Seriously, a $100 gift card! There is no other class at UST that will allow you to possibly end the semester with more money than you came in with.

Were all extremely excited here at the BUSN200 center. Soon the winners will be announced and before we know it, we’ll be judging photo’s for the spring semester.


By: Anisa Abdulkadir, BUSN200 Coordinator



Facilitator’s Perspective

I always learn so much from working in Business 200. At every staff meeting, my boss always brings up incredibly intense questions about life. I’m a beginning college student, I don’t even have my core requirements done! I can’t think about my future; it seems so far away. But high school flew by, so I’m guessing college will be the same. So I’m starting to ask myself, “what do I want to do with my life”? I want to make lots of money, travel the world, and live in a big city. Great. That fulfills my needs, but won’t I have free time to save the world as well? Yes, that’s what Business 200 has taught me. When I work and make lots of money I’ll worry about my shareholders and making them happy. But when I have free time, I want to worry about and better my stakeholders because when I better my stakeholders, they better their community and the future generations. I know now that if I can make one person who is at rock bottom happy again, then I can change the future. So now I’m going to make lots of money, travel the world, live in a big city, and change the world.


Michelle ~ Facilitator