[Hpn] VAHC Press Release: Study Highlights Growing Rental Affordability Gap in Vermont

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Mon, 15 Oct 2001 22:11:12 -0400


-------Forwarded Press Release-------

On: Monday, October 15, 2001 at 16:22:48 -0400
Erhard Mahnke <erhardm@VTAffordableHousing.org>, Executive Director,
Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC) sent:




For immediate release: October 15,2001
Contact: Erhard Mahnke, 660-9484
     Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition

A new report released earlier this month by the National Low Income Housing 
Coalition shows that Vermont's affordable housing crisis has gotten worse 
the past year.  Families in Vermont must now earn $13.21 per hour -- or more 
than 2 times the state minimum wage -- to afford a typical two-bedroom 
apartment.  This translates into an annual income of $27,480, which is 
almost $20,000 less than the state's median income.  Since last year the 
income a renter needs to afford a two bedroom home in Vermont (also known as 
the "Housing
Wage") has increased by $1.30 per hour, or 11%.  This is more than three 
times the rate of inflation and 1  times the increase in median income.

The "Out of Reach" report analyzes the growing gap between rental housing 
costs and the minimum wage.  The average two-bedroom apartment in Vermont 
was $687 per
month, including utilities, while the average three-bedroom apartment was 
$901. By contrast, Vermont's minimum-wage workers can afford no more than 
$325 per
month for rent and utilities, leaving them $362 short every month.  They 
must work 85 hours per week to afford a typical two-bedroom home.  Vermont 
has more than 20,000 people who earn below the state minimum wage of $6.25 
per hour - or about $13,000 per year.

Housing is generally considered to be affordable when it costs 30% or less 
of a household's gross income.  People who must spend more are often at risk 
for losing their housing and cannot afford other necessities, such as food, 
clothing, transportation, and medical care. Without stable, affordable 
shelter, it becomes nearly impossible for heads of family to hold a job and 
for their children to succeed in school.

  "Vermont's lower wage workers face an impossible task when they search for 
decent, affordable housing," says Janet Dermody, Chairperson of the Vermont 
Affordable Housing Coalition.  "This report hammers home the need for 
increased housing production and more federal and state funding for 
affordable housing. The state's economic future is at stake."

In other findings:

 Housing advocates have long said Vermont's affordable housing problems are 
not confined to Chittenden County.  At 7.1%, Vermont's nonmetro areas had 
the third
highest increase in the Housing Wage among combined nonmetro areas in the 
country.  In Washington County, the housing wage was $12.27 per hour, in 
Rutland, $12.35 and in Windsor, $12.87.  Even in the Northeast Kingdom, 
where rents are the lowest in the state, the Housing Wage averaged around 
$10.00 per hour.

 In the Burlington metropolitan area, where costs were far and away the 
highest in the state, the Housing Wage was a whopping $15.67 per hour - an 
increase of
15.4% over last year, while area median income only increased by 6.6%.  The 
average two-bedroom apartment rented for $815 per month, including 
while the average three-bedroom was $1,111.  A family needs to earn $32,600 
annually to afford a 2 bedroom and $44,440 to afford a 3 bedroom home in the 
greater Burlington area.

"While we watch last year's budget surpluses disappear and huge expenditures 
for the nation's new emergency needs, we can't afford to forget working 
people and
those struggling on fixed incomes," said the Coalition's Erhard Mahnke.  
"This is not the time for the state or federal government to cut back on 
money for
affordable housing.  What we desperately need is more funding.  Producing 
new affordable housing not only helps those who can't afford a decent place 
to live,
it will preserve jobs in construction and related industries during the 
coming economic downturn."

For more information, visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition's web 
site at www.nlihc.org.


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**


-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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