Story of a bike ride, from left to right: 1. Me happy and strong 2. Me starting to lose it 3. Me walking my bike up a hill, certain of my imminent collapse 4. Said collapse, happening over fries at In n Out

This summer, I’ll bike 3,861 miles across the Southern United States with an organization called Bike & Build, raising money for and educating about affordable housing, and stopping along the way to help build homes for people in need.

Is this nuts? Yeah, probably. But crazy times call for crazy measures, and such is the state of affordable housing in this country. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines housing as affordable if it costs less than 30% of a family’s income. And yet, 1 in 4 renting families pay over half their income on housing alone. And it’s not as if that’s 50% of particularly high salaries, either: in no state can you afford a two bedroom apartment on minimum wage.

At this point, you’re probably thinking one of two things (if not both): 1. this is horribly depressing 2. what can I do about this?! Well, my friend, now you see exactly how I reached this point. And since you might not be ready or able to drop everything and go full hog on an affordable housing cycle journey across America, please allow me to go in your stead. I’ll be writing here about what I learn and see as I study, train, build, and travel for affordable housing. And here’s how you can really help out. Before I set off this summer, I’m raising $4,500 for the affordable housing cause. The group of 30 I’m riding with will combine all our money, which we’ll donate in four ways:

1. to community housing groups we’ll work with along our route

2. through application-based competitive grants to affordable housing organizations that our group will review and select

3. through individually chosen grants: I’ll be able to allot a portion of the money to an affordable housing group of my choice. I’ll let you know what I decide based on my research!

4. And through small contributions to help support the non-profits that host us on gym floors, church basements, and on van trips

This is why I’m asking for your help. Any size contribution will make a difference (check out the prizes I’ll get to you if you are able to give!)

I’ll be writing here to keep you updated along the way. I look forward to sharing this adventure with you!