Annie Scully, Research Analyst/Community Outreach Coordinator, United Way of CT
In Connecticut, 50% of renters and 32% of homeowners are considered housing-cost burdened, which means they spend 30% or more of their income on housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that in order to afford a modest 2-bedroom apartment in Connecticut without being housing-cost burdened, a household must earn $24.72 per hour. Yet the 2016 ALICE Report indicates that 49% of jobs in Connecticut pay less than $20 per hour. What do ALICE households do when they cannot afford basic housing?
The following excerpts are from the new national ALICE Report on Consequences of Insufficient Household Income and what strategies ALICE households are forced to employ to remain housed. Help tell the ALICE story.
Strategy 1: Pay more for housing than their budget allows
- Less money available for other basic needs
- Less money devoted to saving for an emergency or making investments for the future, such as higher education or retirement
- More evictions and foreclosures
Strategy 2: Rent or buy in less desirable locations
- Increased transportation costs
- Longer commutes
- Concentrated financial hardship in neighborhoods
Strategy 3: Seek rental assistance
- Forgoing work or work advancement to avoid eligibility cutoffs (benefit cliffs)
Strategy 4: Rent of buy substandard apartments or homes
- Pay higher maintenance costs
- Physical and behavioral health risks such as asthma, infections, and exposure to toxins such as lead, mold, etc.
- Long-term effects on the mental and physical health of adults and children
Strategy 5: Borrow at high rates to buy a home
- Settle for a mortgage that charges higher interest rates and has less favorable terms for borrowers, placing stress on other household and life obligations
Strategy 6: Lose a home to foreclosure
- Long-term financial instability and poor credit
The consequences of insufficient income are not isolated to ALICE households. ALICE workers are an integral part of our communities and essential to the vitality of our state. ALICE cares for our children and aging parents, fixes our cars and works in our local grocery stores, retail stores, and restaurants. We depend on ALICE and when ALICE struggles, it affects us all.
Connecticut United Ways remain committed to supporting ALICE and fighting for the health, education and financial security of all Connecticut residents. We invest in child care, early learning, basic needs, diverse housing options, job training, asset development and financial education. We advocate for good jobs, fair wages, access to good schools, affordable housing, and quality child care that families can afford.
This fall, Connecticut Untied Ways will release their third ALICE Report.
Click here to read previous blogs.