Federal officials recently extended the national eviction moratorium through June, allowing more time for a temporary safeguard that lets millions of Americans have a safe, quality housing option.While these protections obviously can't last forever, the lessons from COVID-19 have made clear that people can't shelter in place without shelter – a home that is reliable. Yet even as it's been highlighted by a health and economic crisis that's swarmed U.S. communities, the need for affordable housing options is not new.Across the U.S., the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports a shortage of 6.8 million rental homes for extremely low-income renters alone, not even accounting for those with slightly higher incomes.According to the coalition's 2020 "Out of Reach" report, there was not one state or county where a full-time worker making minimum wage could afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy loses some $2 trillion a year in lower wages and productivity due to the shortage of affordable housing. Yes, campaign promises, local and national coalitions – such as the Florida Housing Coalition and the Chicago Housing Initiative – and even some innovative financial efforts, like a $1 billion joint venture to build, protect and preserve 10,000 affordable homes, can try to bring forth solutions.But the largest hurdle to overcome continues to be the stigma and prejudice surrounding affordable housing and low-income housing tax credit projects. NIMBY-ism, or Not-In-My-Backyard bias, now spans race, wealth status and geography. Simply put, whether you are poor or rich, you don't want "them" in your backyard.In Dallas, for example, this conversation looms around the phrase "low-income housing tax credit," which refers to a federal affordable housing program administered via state and local officials. In other neighborhoods, it's perhaps just "affordable housing" that lights the trigger. But this is a national conversation.In New York, investments in needed rent subsidies and tenant protections did not occur prior to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving housing providers with few solutions in the midst of an economic crisis.In California, proposed state legislation calls for zoning changes allowing increased housing density, reductions in environmental regulatory hurdles, and the use of bond funding for affordable housing, with the hope of clearing prior roadblocks given today's economic climate.In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is attempting to change the city's affordable housing ordinance and address a 116,000-unit shortage by creating more family units and increasing the required share of affordable units developers must create as part of projects in certain neighborhoods.Dallas' challenges became most evident in a recent lively debate among City Council members and constituents within and outside of a community that would be the proposed site of a low-income housing tax credit-funded development with mixed-income units. The Lake Highlands area itself is perceived as more affluent, yet has more naturally occurring affordable housing – meaning it has residential rental properties that are affordable and are not income-restricted or subsidized by government programs.A central tenet of the debate: Those in other communities support spreading such projects across the city, while existing neighborhood residents said they felt overwhelmed by poorer residents already. Yet whether they be an elected official, longtime resident or social media troll, many people are drawing conclusions based on an incomplete understanding of what it takes to truly address the increasing need for housing affordability.As the managing partner and founder of Innovan Neighborhoods in Dallas, I believe the nuances of the terminology surrounding these issues need clarification, which could help build consensus and form agreement on needed housing projects. The low-income housing tax credit, for example, is a financial tool that provides additional capital to fill in the gap and make a project affordable for new tenants. The type of housing, range of unit affordability (meaning the mix between market and restricted units in a project) and location of the housing all can vary.Similarly, "workforce housing" encompasses housing that meets a need for residents with a range of incomes, yet provides clarity about who is living there – specifically, people who are working. But this is also slightly redundant: Unless someone is living in transitional housing for those temporarily experiencing homelessness, residents in affordable housing developments are spending some percentage of their income on this type of housing, and that income is often earned. "Attainable housing" is a slightly more inclusive term that can help expand the conversation about housing needs to encompass moderate-income households. But it has yet to be commonly used. Overall, truly addressing the need for housing affordability means creating housing that is affordable at many levels of income, because everyone deserves affordable housing options. Though an imperfect measure, affordability is based on not spending approximately 30% or more of your income on housing costs. By that rule, a person making $250,000, for example, shouldn't be spending upwards of $75,000 a year ($6,250 per month) on housing costs. The same is true for a person making $75,000, who shouldn't be spending $22,500 or more a year (or $1,875 per month). To be sure, the policy discussion about affordable housing can remain as is, centering around a term and phrase that everyone understands and can immediately grasp.Yet language is also a form of advocacy, and presents an opportunity to educate about the need to bring safe, quality and affordable housing to all communities. By changing our language, we can broaden the conversation to include the need to increase financial resources for the renter, landlord and developer – all while looking to preserve and create housing that helps grow and sustain our economy.