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Money Woes Worsen Significantly for Renters in Maine

Photo: Costs are increasing faster than incomes for renters in Arizona. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
Photo: Costs are increasing faster than incomes for renters in Arizona. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
May 13, 2013

AUGUSTA, Maine - Just because you have a job doesn't mean it's easy to pay the rent in Maine. A new report, Housing Landscape 2013, from the nonprofit Center for Housing Policy shows more than 42,000 local renters are spending more than half their income on housing.

According to report co-author Maya Brennan, senior research associate at the Center, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of working renters in the state who are dealing with what the report calls a "severe" cost burden.

"These households are working and they're still unable not just to afford housing, but to even come close to affording it," Brennan stated.

The report found that nearly 21 percent of Maine renters shouldered a severe housing cost burden in 2011, a jump of 6 percent compared to 2010. Brennan said that declining incomes and federal cuts in housing assistance contribute to the problem.

She added that people who spend more than half their income on housing often face very tough choices about what else they can afford.

"That's a status that puts you at risk of not being able to afford food, afford health care, basic, y'know, truly basic necessities," she cautioned.

She also said communities too often limit rental housing because of concerns it will drive down property values.

"It's important to make sure that communities are allowing housing of different sizes and different types to be built, because if we don't, we're restricting the stock, and pushing the rents up."

The report said that nationally, working renters saw their housing costs rise by 6 percent from 2008 to 2011, while their household incomes fell more than three percent.

A link to that report is at NHC.org

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME