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Money Woes Continue for Many Renters in MA

May 13, 2013

BOSTON - Just because you have a job doesn't mean it's easy to pay the rent in Massachusetts. A new report, Housing Landscape 2013, from the nonprofit Center for Housing Policy shows more than 230,000 renters are spending more than half their income on housing.

According to report co-author Maya Brennan, senior research associate at the Center, 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," Brennan stated.

The report found that 23 percent of Massachusetts renters shouldered a severe housing cost burden in 2011, and that percentage has remained about the same since 2008. 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 - MA