Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cost-Burdened Tenant Households

What's interesting about this scorecard, is that in only two states (South Dakota and Wyoming) do cost-burdened tenants, tenants paying more than 30% of their income for housing, make up less than 40% of the tenant population.  And that's even worse than it appears, as very low-income tenants shouldn't be paying anything close to 30% of income for housing. Simple example: a tenant making $800 a month can't afford to spend even $100 on housing and still meet her other expenses (food, transportation etc.), while a tenant making $10,000 a month can spend more than 30% of her income on rent and utilities and easily meet her other expenses.

The importance of this is that households forced to spend a large percentage of income on housing are in danger of homelessness every month.  A car repair, medical crisis, or parking ticket, for that matter, can throw these households into default.  And since most tenants in the United States aren't protected by "just cause" eviction protections, a eviction notice from the landlord is likely to lead to a stint in a homeless shelter.

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