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Affordable housing provides a solid foundation for a strong community. Residents who live in a home that is affordable have funds to purchase food, provide health care and satisfy other living needs. Residents of affordable homes also have the economic means to purchase goods and services in their communities. Affordable housing helps to create economic stability.
The common definition of an affordable home is one where the resident uses no more than 30 percent of his or her income to pay the rent or mortgage. In Connecticut, the amount a person must make per hour to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment is $24.29 and the mean (average) wage for a renter is $16.16.
Inability to pay the rent or mortgage leads to eviction, foreclosure, homelessness and transience. But even if the rent or mortgage can be paid, spending too much on housing leaves too little income for food, clothing, health care, transportation and other necessities.
Equally important, those who can't afford their housing must live in overcrowded or substandard homes. Residents suffer in many ways when they lack privacy, don't have a place to do homework, must sleep on the couch and are exposed to lead paint, dust mites and other allergens, or live in a neighborhood without parks, sports leagues, library branches and schools that meet their families' needs.
The good news is that the converse is true. A home that's affordable, safe, and secure for residents – especially if it's energy-efficient, near transit and in a good school district - can provide residents with huge benefits. Transit and heating costs are lower and there is disposable income for other necessities. Residents can take advantage of community services and school performance improves.
For housing assistance or services, please contact the United Way's InfoLine by dialing 2-1-1.