Easing the Rent Burden

A new statistic in the housing field has got the housing blogosphere buzzing:  more than half of all renters in the US are rent burdened.  This means they are paying more than 30% of their income for rent.  And while this burden is greatest on lower-income families (where the burden is often 50% or more for rent), it is an issue for many in the “middle income” ranges as well.

Have you checked out rents in your community lately?  Housing Virginia, a great source of all things housing, has determined that a low wage worker would have to work nearly three full time jobs to afford the median rent here in Charlottesville, VA.  Some who follow the national housing situation are suggesting that the US should match the subsidies we provide for mortgages (the lion’s share of which benefits the well-to-do) with some help for renters.

In a NY Times editorial, Julia M. Stasch, interim president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, says “a rebalancing of national housing policy that more equitably distributes support to moderate- and low-income families and to renters, in particular, is long overdue, and Americans support it.”  The low wage and middle income workers in Charlottesville certainly could use some help to put housing affordability within reach.