Affordable, Well Maintained Housing

It works in Singapore and Austria. Why not here?

Shefali O'Hara
4 min readJul 2, 2022


Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

Property values are rising in many parts of the country. This situation is not necessarily good for home owners, and it’s horrible for renters.

For many homeowners, the situation is a catch-22. They pay higher taxes on rising property values. They also pay more for maintenance thanks to rising inflation. If they sell their homes, they could come out ahead. However, then they have to find a new place to live. If they can’t move to a cheaper real estate market due to jobs or family, they can’t bank their profits and they’ll pay a higher interest rate.

For renters, the situation is worse. Landlords pass on the increased costs of higher taxes and maintenance to renters who often have no choice but to pay.

The middle class is having a harder time. The poor suffer even more. Many families have had to give up their dreams of home ownership. Other families have been evicted despite working multiple jobs, or have had to choose between paying for rent or for other necessities.

What if our government was interested in helping all Americans, not just the top 10%?

How Austria provides affordable housing

Public housing in Austria is considered affordable and desirable. Called social housing, many units offer features such as on-site child care, rooftop swimming pools and saunas, tennis courts, and cafes and shops in the building.

Social housing often has lots of windows, and courtyards and gardens for residents to enjoy. Not only does social housing provide a high quality of life, it is available to the middle class — those who earn twice the average salary can still qualify.

In Vienna, the capital, almost 60% of residents use social housing.

The city owns 1,800 apartment complexes and the residents include a diverse mix that consists of tech workers, retirees, immigrants, and families. Most residents don’t pay more than 25% of their income for housing.

They also enjoy the social aspects of living with a diverse group of people. There are often events where residents can get to know each other as well as public spaces…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.