Money Woes Worsen for Renters in Pennsylvania

Just because you have a job doesn't mean you can pay the rent in Pennsylvania.

A new report from the nonprofit organization Center for Housing Policy shows an increasing number of Pennsylvania renters are spending more than half of their income on housing.

Report co-author Maya Brennan says about 18 percent of working renters in the state are dealing with what the report calls a severe cost burden.

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

Brennan says declining incomes and federal cuts to housing assistance have made the problem worse. Currently, well over three million Pennsylvanians live in rental housing.

She adds 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 or health care," she says, "basic, you know, truly basic necessities."

Brennan also says communities too often limit rental housing because of concerns that 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," she cautions, "because if we don't, we're restricting the stock, and pushing the rents up."

The report says nationally, working renters saw their housing costs rise by 6 percent from 2008 to 2011, while their household incomes fell more than 3 percent.

Rates of severe housing cost burden remained stable but high for working homeowners.

Filed Under :  
Topics : Social Issues
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Locations : Pennsylvania
People : Maya Brennan
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