Recently, the problem of housing has come to dominate the conversation in many countries around the world. The UK, with its tradition of council housing, has faced shocks to its system. Housing is more and more out of the reach of many working people there. The US is facing a housing crisis, too. Migration of millennials to cities has created increased demand for housing there. This has driven rents up and out of the reach of working-class people. It almost seems that no matter where you are, rents are soaring up and reasonably priced homes are far and few between.

A companion problem is that working-class wages have stagnated since the Great Recession. Working-class people often lack cars and can’t find a workable way to make a move to the suburbs. All of this has created a seemingly intractable housing crisis in cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. All of this has been immensely frustrating, both for the people who live in these cities and for politicians. However, there’s also a great opportunity in this crisis, if only people will take the time to think it through.

Currently, four out of ten low income people are either homeless or spending over 50% of their income on rent, which is unsustainable in the long-term. The US is short by at least several million low income housing units. This is a tremendous opportunity for investors, if they are able to play it right. Social housing in the United States often gets a bad name. However, there are real advantages to landlords when it comes to dealing with social housing programs.

For example, section 8 arrives on time every month. Renting to lower income tenants can mean missed, partial or late payments. Dealing with government agencies means much more reliable cash flow, even if there can be a lag initially. Social impact investment firms have also made affordable housing one of their pet causes. Groups like Turner Impact Capital and Building Opportunity have made it a point to focus on affordable housing. This investment takes many forms, from crowdsourcing online to REITs.

Avalon Communities, a company known for providing corporate apartments, has also shifted their focus to renovating older buildings for more middle-income and lower-income clientele. As these big investments by big players demonstrate, there’s a very healthy future in providing low income housing.