HONOLULU (AP) It’s the year 2017 and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching a program to offer online furniture purchases to help alleviate a looming affordability crisis for some of the nation’s most affluent residents.
A USDA statement says more than 100,000 homes in rural areas in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota were eligible to receive an online furniture donation kit from a third-party seller.
It also said nearly 200,000 more homes in the state are eligible for the program.
The program was launched on Dec. 2, the USDA said, and aims to provide assistance to low-income households.
In the past, homeownership was one of the main reasons that families could afford to live in homes, said Mark Siegel, an associate professor of finance at the University of Michigan.
But in recent years, the housing market has been tightening and many families are not saving enough for their next move, he said.
For many low- and moderate-income families, there’s a gap between what they’re able to afford and what they can afford to buy.
The U.N. World Food Program estimates that between 20 percent and 50 percent of U.s. households are in poverty.
The USDA program aims to fill that gap by offering furniture donations through third-parties like eBay, Amazon and Target.
It’s part of the agency’s broader effort to help low- to middle-income Americans.
It’s the latest step in the agency and the Trump administration’s efforts to make it easier to buy, sell and store furniture online.
Last year, the administration announced a $2 billion stimulus program that aims to help people purchase and store household goods online.