Housing Stretches Budgets

Lower Income Households Struggle
To Cover Rent and Other Basic Needs

Housing Stretches BudgetsA February 7, 2014 National Housing Conference blog post, “Housing Stretches Budgets of Lower Income Households” highlights how very difficult it is for low-income families to make ends meet – even when one or two adults in the household are working part- and/or full-time.

For example, using the National Center for Children’s Poverty budget calculator, a household of 4 living in Trenton/Mercer County would need an annual income of $57,046 to cover its basic needs.

Using the calculator, two adults with one part-time and one full-time adult worker and two children under the age of five, was budgeted only $15,000 for rent and utilities. But we know that this household most likely pays well more than 1/3 of its income for housing (and related expenses.)

Writes blogger Janet Viveiros,

“Oftentimes, the biggest budget item is housing. Since housing is not a discretionary budget item, many households find themselves spending unaffordable amounts of their income on their housing costs.”

Viveiros concludes that,

“While higher wages will make it easier for low-income households to afford their housing, in this weak recovery we cannot rely on wages to steadily increase. We must focus on ways to contain housing costs through various affordable housing strategies.”

Click here for the full blog post.

Click here to try the National Center for Children’s Poverty budget calculator.