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Money Woes Worsen for Renters in Arizona

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

PHOENIX - Just because you have a job doesn't mean you can pay the rent in Arizona. A new report, Housing Landscape 2013, from the nonprofit Center for Housing Policy shows an increasing number of renters are spending more than half their income on housing.

According to report co-author Maya Brennan, about one in four working renters in the state is 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," she said.

The report ranks Arizona tenth in the nation for its share of working households with a severe housing cost burden. Brennan said declining incomes and federal cuts to housing assistance programs have made the problem worse.

She added that people who have to 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 or afford health care, basic, y'know, truly basic necessities," she warned.

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," she said.

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

A link to the report is at NHC.org.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ