Mar 9, 2014
Spiraling Rents Squeeze the Nation’s Working Poor
Posted on Oct 23, 2013
There’s more to a housing crisis than foreclosures, and The Atlantic Cities site reports Tuesday on the increasing financial squeeze low-wage families face in just trying to pay their monthly rent bill. What hangs in the balance: Homeless families headed by people with jobs.
The Atlantic Cities piece spins off a recent essay by former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne about how the skyrocketing cost of living in New York City threatens its role as a creative and cultural center. According to the article:
The piece dives into data compiled in April by the National Alliance to End Homelessness that found overall homelessness in the U.S. is falling even as it’s increasing among families. The root cause was the Great Recession, with families on the economic margin falling off the edge as jobs dried up, or wages stagnated, while basic rents increased.
Think about that. More than 6.5 million households spending at least half of their income just to sleep indoors. The data noted that homelessness is rising the most, and the fastest, in the same markets—such as Seattle and Portland, Ore.—where housing prices have recovered and are increasing again.
Beyond the poverty and homelessness implications, regional segregation by affordability of housing also exacerbates traffic and air pollution problems. UC Davis’ Mapping Regional Change program reported two years ago that “developing the right fit between available housing types and the income level of households is an important part of regional planning and development. An imbalance in low-wage jobs and affordable housing is of concern not only for those low-wage workers who face challenges in finding affordable housing near work, but is of concern for regions as a whole, since it makes it more difficult to reduce overall vehicle miles traveled and potentially contributes to an excess fiscal burden on those jurisdictions with higher proportions of affordable apartments and houses.”
—Posted by Scott Martelle.
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