Unless you live under a rock, you know all too well that there is an affordable housing crisis underway. And indications are that it is going to get worse before it gets better. I recently ran across some stats that paint a pretty dismal picture. One study estimates we’ll need an additional 4.6 million new apartment households by 2030. This equates to 325,000 new apartments needed annually to keep up with demand. Unfortunately, the number of new apartments projected to come online is about 70% of what is needed. Add to that an already low supply of affordable units and minimal government incentives, and we’ve got an ever-widening affordability gap.

However, as is often the case, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. The affordable housing shortage presents not only opportunities for good investments, but also the opportunity to make an impact (that is, investments that will make you money and do good socially and environmentally).

If you have a genuine concern about the affordable housing crisis and want to be a part of the solution, read on. Here are four ideas on ways real estate investors can help alleviate the affordable housing crisis—and make money in the process.

4 Ways Investors Can Help Alleviate the Affordable Housing Crisis

1. Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding is relatively new but gaining in popularity. Most readers of this article are likely to think of direct investment when it comes to real estate—buying a property ourselves to do a fix and flip or long-term rental, or investing in a specific project via private money loans.

But most of us are limited in the number of projects we can invest in at any one time. Crowdfunding expands the reach of individual investors and opens real estate investing to a much broader range of individuals. Some platforms have minimum investments as low as five dollars. With crowdfunding, the investor can often specifically invest in projects that will bring more affordable housing online. So, even though you may not have the funds to fix and flip a new affordable housing project on your own, with crowdfunding you can be one of several investors who help get…