As rents rise at a faster pace than wages, affordable housing isn’t available to many local residents, according to an analysis of data by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress’ Center for Housing Solutions.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report released last week shows that renters in nine Hudson Valley counties would have to work far more than a full-time job in order to afford the cost of a two-bedroom apartment.
Wages vs. rent
In Orange County, for example, the average hourly wage for renters is $11.99. At that wage, a worker could afford a monthly rent payment of $623, yet the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Orange is $1,467. To close this $844 gap, a renter would have to work 94 hours a week.
“The bottom line is that rents are simply unaffordable for the people we count on every day,” said Joe Czajka, senior vice president of Pattern and the executive director of the Center for Housing Solutions and Community Initiatives. “The people we count on every day, like home health aides, janitors, laborers, waitresses, retail clerks and warehouse workers, are finding it nearly impossible to afford housing without going into debt or cutting back on other essentials.”
Czajka added: “The pandemic has only exacerbated these affordability issues as the housing inventory has essentially dried up.”
The Center for Housing Solutions believes it is critical that federal housing programs like the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program continue to be funded. These federal programs combined with state housing resources and local incentives are vital to developers of affordable housing.
The full “Out of Reach” report is available on Pattern’s website at pattern-for-progress.org/portfolio/out-of-reach/