Affordable Rents Slipping Away

Passaic and Union Counties Have
Increasingly Unaffordable Rent

Affordable Rents Slipping AwayA recent Pew Charitable Trust Stateline blog post, highlighted the problem of unaffordable rents for low-income households across the country. New Jersey has two of the country’s fastest growing rental affordability issues.

Between 2000 to 2013, the median percentage that low-income households in Passaic County paid for rent increased from almost 27% to almost 38%. And in Union County, the increase was almost 25% to a little over 34%. Across the state of New Jersey, the increase as almost 26% to a little over 32%.

“Renters across the country are struggling to pay their rents. In many cases, it’s because rents are climbing faster than renters’ incomes.”

According to Pew Charitable Trust Stateline.

An accepted standard for affordable rent is that households should pay no more than 30% of their income towards rent. Paying more than 30% of that income, makes it difficult to have money left for food, clothing, medication and other necessities.

The federal Section 8 program, which was created to assist low- and very low-income households, has very long waiting lists and in some communities, those waiting lists are closed. New Jersey has a state funded Rental Assistance Program and over the last two fiscal years, the program spent about $40.5 million to assist 4,000 low-income renter households.

“’Significant erosion in renter incomes over the past decade has pushed the number of households paying excessive shares of income for housing to record levels,’ the study said. ‘Assistance efforts have failed to keep pace with this escalating need, undermining the nation’s longstanding goal of ensuring decent and affordable housing for all.’”

Quoting from a recent Harvard study.

One of Monarch Housing’s federal policy priorities is to restore funding for Section 8 vouchers, which would include:

  • Providing sufficient funding to renew Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers in use in 2014 and include in the FY 2015 appropriations $320 million for 40,000-targeted vouchers (this is in addition to the $20 billion requested by HUD).
  • Targeting vouchers to homeless or at-risk families and Family Unification Program eligible families, people who with disabilities who may otherwise be institutionalized, and victims of domestic violence