In New Jersey, Ocean City ranked 19th in the country among cities with the highest median rent as a share of median income. This rate rose from 33.3% in 2000 to 35.9% in 2013.
In order for rent and utilities to considered affordable, a household should pay no more than then 30% of its total income towards these expenses. “But that goal is increasingly unattainable for middle-income families as a tightening market pushes up rents ever faster, outrunning modest rises in pay.”
“Nationally, half of all renters are now spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to a comprehensive Harvard study, up from 38 percent of renters in 2000. In December, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan declared ‘the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known.’”
Low-income households face extreme hardship when faced with high rents.
“Low-income families that spend more than half their income on housing spend about a third less on food, 50 percent less on clothing, and 80 percent less on medical care compared with low-income families with affordable rents, according to a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.”
Compounding the affordable housing crisis is the fact that “Money for affordable housing has dried up at a time when it is needed most.” For example, HOME grants have been cut in past over the last ten years.
“The percentage of eligible families who receive rental subsidies has shrunk, to 23.8 percent from 27.4 percent, the Harvard study found.“