Renters need to make nearly $28 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Connecticut, new report finds

To comfortably afford even a one-bedroom apartment in Connecticut, the report says, a renter needs to earn $22.53, well above the state’s current $14 minimum wage.

By those metrics, Connecticut ranks 10th among the most expensive states to rent, according to the annual report, which was produced by the National Low Income Housing Coalition in conjunction with the Connecticut Partnership for Strong Communities.

“Connecticut is still one of the most expensive states to live in and there’s still a big gap between what NHLIC calculates as ‘housing pay’…and what renters actually earn,” Sean said. Ghio, Senior Policy Advisor at Partnership for Strong. Communities.

According to the NHLIC report, the average renter in Connecticut earns $21.30 per hour, which is below the level at which they can comfortably afford even a one-bedroom apartment. A minimum-wage worker in Connecticut would have to work 79 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment and 64 hours to afford a one-bedroom apartment, the report said.

Unsurprisingly, the report found that the cost of renting in Connecticut varies widely from one part of the state to another. In the Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area, a renter must earn $42.88 an hour to comfortably afford a two-bedroom apartment, the highest of any neighborhood, while in Windham County, someone one can afford a two-bedroom apartment while earning $21.35, the lowest of any neighborhood.

The report’s calculations are based on the idea that families should not spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Above that number, Ghio said, families often have to make sacrifices in other areas.

“If you spend that much on housing, you’re not spending it on your family’s other basic needs, including food, clothing and health care,” Ghio said. “And all of those things have ramifications in the life of a family.”

According a report from Harvard University released in 2020, 10.9 million renters nationwide, or about one in four in total, spent more than half of their income on housing in 2018.

In Connecticut and elsewhere, house prices have risen sharply in recent years, particularly since the start of 2021, in a trend that experts have attributed to low vacancy rates, slowing construction and inflation. global. In the past year alone, the hourly wage needed to comfortably afford a two-bedroom apartment has increased by 43 cents in Connecticut, according to the NLIHC report.

This increase was particularly strong in the Stamford-Norwalk area, which includes suburbs such as Greenwich, New Canaan and Westport.

To address the lack of affordable housing in Connecticut, Ghio suggests changing zoning laws to encourage the construction of new housing, and especially affordable housing, as well as expanding federal and state housing voucher programs. Others have offered additional solutions, such as new social housing or rent controls for existing rental accommodation.

In a statement, NLIHC President Diane Yentel noted that only a fraction of those eligible for housing assistance receive it and called for greater federal support for housing programs.

“With rapidly rising rents, worsening homelessness and millions of families struggling to stay housed, federal investments in expanding proven solutions – like Housing Choice Vouchers, the National Housing Fund earmarking for housing and social housing – is badly needed and long overdue,” she said. .

According to the NLIHC report, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts and New York are the least affordable states for renters, while Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi and South Dakota are the most affordable.

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