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It’s American Housing Month. But, for Many CT Residents, There’s Not Much to Celebrate.

It’s American Housing Month. But, for Many CT Residents, There’s Not Much to Celebrate.

The observance is intended to bring to light the many housing and financing options available to American consumers. Here in Connecticut, let’s hope it also brings to light the significant issue of housing affordability.

A recently released report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition reveals that, on average, a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn $21.21 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment and $17.14 to afford a one-bedroom apartment. The news is even more stark in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Housing Coalition (CHC) says, “For the second time in two years, Connecticut ranks as the eighth most expensive jurisdiction among the 50 states and Washington, DC.” Compared to the U.S. average, here’s how Connecticut stacks up:

Household earnings to afford a 2-bedroom apartment*

  • US     $21.21 per hour
  • CT     $24.72 an hour (or $51,400 per year)
       *based on typical apartment at HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR).

These are just numbers, until you understand how this plays out for Connecticut’s working families. The hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home in the state — without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs — would necessitate a significantly higher hourly wage, or working significantly more hours per week.

CHC further points out that in 2017, the average Connecticut renter working 40 hours per week earns only $16.97 per hour or $35,298 a year. Those earning Connecticut’s minimum wage of $10.10 an hour would have to work 98 hours per week to pay the state’s FMR for a two-bedroom apartment. A person working full time at the state’s minimum wage can only afford to pay $525 a month for rent. view CT snapshot

All this adds up to a crying need for more affordable housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates a shortage of 7.4 million rental homes nationwide that are affordable and available to extremely low income households.

How about in Connecticut? The United Way ALICE study  suggests that over 98,000 units of affordable housing needs to be developed to keep a roof over the heads of working families. That’s why Liberty Bank Foundation is working with partners like CHC, the Partnership for Strong Communities, the Connecticut Department of Housing, and others to expand housing opportunities for everyone in our state.