is a fundamental need of all people. Families who struggle to
find affordable housing have to use their energy and resources
for meeting this basic need, rather than for other necessities
like food and medical care, or discretionary spending including
further education. At the end of the 1980s, about half of us
who rent were able to afford market rates using 30 percent of
our income. The percentage of us who can afford to rent has
risen somewhat. Still, affordable rent eludes many.
housing is essential to the economic well-being of our citizens
and the economic success of our state. Businesses have difficulty
maintaining a workforce without affordable places for workers
to live. Our economy is held back when significant numbers of
us have little money to spend and invest due to the high cost
housing can pose environmental health and safety problems. Housing
is also part of the human environment. Living in shabby or unaffordable
housing makes it difficult for us to feel connected to our environment
and take responsibility for its well-being.
is the backbone of a community. If housing is too expensive
or of poor quality, it is harder for residents to become connected
to that community and develop a sense of belonging. In many
of our poorer areas, little money is left over after the rent
is paid, so few resources are available to pay for quality education
and social programs that can aid in breaking the cycle of poverty.
The definition of
"fair market rent" has changed during the period in which data
were collected. This definition should be standardized. We do
not have data to ascertain whether some people might prefer
different thresholds of affordability. Also, these data cover
the entire state and so do not show the considerable regional
variations in both incomes and rental prices.
Low Income Housing Coalition