Each year, we ask affordable housing firms around the country to take part in a survey that determines our AHF 50 lists of the top developers and owners. The AHF 50 is a diverse group of nonprofits and for-profits, national and regional companies. The survey also provides a snapshot of the industry—giving us a look at how many housing units are under development by the major firms and what developers are most concerned about.

This year, we posed a new question, asking developers to share what they would like people to know about affordable housing. The question comes at a time when the industry ramps up its advocacy efforts yet again to make sure lawmakers understand the importance of the low-income housing tax credit program.

The answers were as diverse as the developers themselves, showing just how multidimensional affordable housing is. Several said they want people to know that their developments are a world removed from the stereotypes of low-income housing. Some emphasized that their properties are important economic developments. Others made it a point to say the cost of affordable housing is offset by the long-term economic and social impact created by the developments.

And developers want everyone to know that their communities are home to people we rely upon every single day.

“Affordable housing often has a negative connotation attached to it, but what people should know about affordable housing is that many hardworking Americans are benefitted by it,” says Todd Cottle, principal of C&C Development in California. “In our residences, 94% of people are employed in industries such as manufacturing, retail, banking, and medicine. The vast majority of people benefitted by affordable housing are, for example, the janitor at your local school or the teller at your local bank. These hardworking Americans directly benefit the communities in which they live.”