CHESHIRE, Conn., May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Having a safe and stable home is a basic human need, but the reality is that for millions of Americans, a reasonable place to live is still financially out of reach. According to the recently fielded ReThink Survey: Perceptions of Public Housing 2013, the majority of Americans (83%) believe that all U.S. citizens deserve a decent and safe place to live. Yet, current economic and federal budget conditions have decreased funding for public housing, making it even less attainable for at least half a million people on waiting lists across the country. Even with this harsh reality, 63% of Americans surveyed do not support public housing in their own neighborhoods and more than half (52%) would not want to live near a public housing unit.
ReThink is a new initiative challenging the sometimes negative perceptions Americans have about public housing by sharing stories of success made possible through public housing.
"When people think of public housing, they think of old, stark high rises, the way public housing used to be decades ago. They don't realize that public housing has greatly evolved. People also tend to generalize about the people who are living in public housing," says J. Len Williams, Chief Executive Officer at the Housing Authority of Columbus, Ga. "ReThink sheds light on the vibrant people who live in public housing, shows the strength of its communities, and demonstrates how it benefits society as a whole. Public housing offers a springboard for the future, giving our neighbors the opportunity to advance themselves and their families."
Public housing provides a foundation from which residents gain a stable and supportive community for themselves and their families, opportunities for education and career training, and ultimately, the opportunity for financial self-sufficiency to succeed outside of public housing.
Jewel, four-time Grammy Award nominated singer-songwriter, understands the importance of having a stable place to live, as she was once homeless. Now serving as the ReThink ambassador, Jewel is asking Americans everywhere to rethink their perceptions of public housing.
"I am honored to be part of a cause that will positively impact people and families going through tough times. I remember what it was like to not have a roof over my head or even know where my next meal was coming from. A key to living successfully and productively is having a stable home, something public housing provides to millions of Americans, many of whom are children. It also offers community, security, and hope at a time when people need it the most. I'm honored to be part of an initiative that will inspire people to think differently about public housing."
As ReThink ambassador, Jewel will be spreading news about the initiative in upcoming weeks through media appearances and with a public service announcement to be broadcast later this year.
Visit ReThinkHousing.org to watch short-form documentaries featuring residents of public housing, including a single mom working towards a physical therapy degree; a young man who found stability and will soon graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and an inspiring gentleman who, despite severe physical disabilities, has enjoyed a vibrant and meaningful career helping his elderly neighbors.
The ReThink initiative was developed by Housing Authority Insurance, Inc. (HAI, Inc.) with the support of its trade partners in the public housing industry. HAI, Inc. is a part of HAI Group, which is a family of companies that serves the public and affordable housing community with special, niche insurance programs as well as other value-added products and services such as training and software solutions. HAI Group and its trade partners believe in supporting ReThink to further the mission and purpose of public housing to provide housing and services to millions of Americans who might otherwise be homeless.
Housing Authority Insurance, Inc.
Housing Authority Insurance, Inc. (HAI, Inc.) sponsors programs for its membership, including insurance and risk management programs, scholarship and internship programs, and charitable activities. HAI, Inc. advocates for and supports legislative and regulatory issues that help to improve the public and affordable housing industries. HAI, Inc. is a nonprofit association incorporated in 1987.
ReThink Survey: Perceptions of Public Housing 2013
This survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted February 19-20, 2013, by ORC International among a demographically representative sample of 1,011 adults, comprising 509 men and 502 women, 18 years of age and older.
SOURCE Housing Authority Insurance, Inc.