Before the coronavirus has struck the whole world, the United States has been experiencing an affordable housing crisis. With a pandemic in our midst, this shortage of stable housing has worsened and led some Americans homeless. However, social entrepreneurs like Atticus LeBlanc, the founder of PadSplit, is stirring the pot with shared housing opportunities.
The lack of inexpensive housing is the foundation of most of America’s social problems (i.e., poverty, healthcare). According to statistics, the U.S. needs more than seven million affordable housing units for extremely low-income families. On top of that, more than 500,000 people are facing homelessness.
A house gives more than a roof atop our heads. Having a stable home offers individuals a feeling of belongingness and a safe living environment. Moreover, in 1948, the United States recognized adequate housing as a human right to an appropriate standard of living.
As said earlier, the country is currently experiencing a shortage of affordable housing. This crisis has worsened as the government ordered almost 95% of Americans to stay at home. Most of them became unemployed and can’t figure out how to pay their rent.
Moreover, almost a third of Americans did not have the money to pay their rent last April. Many of them received eviction notices, and the stimulus bill and state and city moratoria can only give temporary security. Also, these aids only create a stopgap measure to America’s decade-long battle with affordable housing.
Seeing it as an opportunity, Atticus LeBlanc founded the PadSplit. The company is based in Atlanta and was founded in 2017. This company was LeBlanc’s entry to competition from the Atlanta housing nonprofit House ATL and the nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners. His plan was eventually selected to become a finalist, and he got a small from the said organizations.
His idea: make it easy for investors to convert housing stock into shared living spaces while giving an online platform. PadSplit turns single-family homes or apartments into shared housing for people earning less than $35,000 a year.
The average annual income of residents, or members, is $25,140. The members are mostly composed of African Americans, and a lot are essential workers like grocery store workers. The rent is a measly $600 per month, and it includes the following:
- 24/7 access to telemedicine
- Credit reporting for all on-time payments
According to LeBlanc, the low rent made PadSplit members save up to $156 per month. With low rent, most members were able to build their credit histories, have their apartments, and buy their cars.
LeBlanc also emphasized that the company has created protocols to protect its members from coronavirus. For example, the company changed the no over-night guest policy to no-guests allowed. Also, there is no double occupancy, which will hopefully keep the members safe.