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June is National (Un)Affordable Housing Month

June is National (Un)Affordable Housing Month

June is national affordable housing month, but statistics tell the story. Thirty percent of Americans spend more than 30 percent of their income to keep a roof over their heads. Some even spend as much as 50 percent of their paychecks on this monthly expense. As dollars allocated to housing go up, that leaves little for other necessities, like food and health care.

The Partnership for Strong Communities, which tracks housing affordability in Connecticut, says: “In 2018, Connecticut had the 9th highest housing wage in the United States. A Connecticut resident would need to earn $24.90 per hour in order to afford the median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in the state. In the Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk metro area, this figure rises to $38.19 per hour — the fifth highest housing wage in the country.”

The cause certainly deserves attention since affordable housing is still out of the grasp of so many working families. It’s a matter of supply and demand. So many more working families need an affordable place to live, but these units are just not being built. Why not? The American Bankers Association, points out these realities:

  • The rising price of new housing developments is one part of the problem. In 2017, Fannie Mae estimated the average cost of building a one- to three-story apartment to $192 per square foot, a 30 percent increase since 2013.
  • Experts, like the Federal Reserve, say this housing shortage is due in part to zoning and land use regulations that limit available space for development. As a result, fewer multi-family and low-income housing units are built.

Affordable housing is one of our three grantmaking priorities. We support agencies that build, develop, and advocate for more affordable housing in the state. We also support first-time home-buyer programs throughout the state, because we want all homebuyers to feel physically and financially secure in the home of their choice.