Ronald Terwilliger, the chairman emeritus and retired CEO of Trammell Crow Residential, said that in his four decades of working in housing, he has never seen housing in such desperate shape.

In a blog on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s website, Terwilliger explained that despite the awful housing conditions, the majority of Americans who today live in safe and affordable homes and communities, concerns about housing may seem abstract and distant.

The deplorable conditions in housing today should concern all of us, regardless of whether we are satisfied with our own personal housing situations. To me, three words summarize why this is so: Family. Community. Country.

Millions of well-housed parents with children of college age and older know all too well what their sons and daughters are up against. Skyrocketing rents, particularly in our major cities, are causing severe cases of sticker shock. When combined with student loan debt, these costs make the idea of saving enough for a mortgage down payment seem far-fetched. For parents of these young adults, housing is a very serious family concern.