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Push for new help for renters as half spend more than 30-percent of income on rent

Rental unit
Posted at 4:52 PM, Feb 27, 2024

It's a reality so many of us are dealing with right now, the high price of renting.

The latest inflation numbers from the government show housing costs are a big reason why inflation is still up.

A recent report from The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found half of renters across the country spent more than 30-percent of their income on rent in 2022.

"When we look compared to pre-pandemic it's much, you know rents are still much higher than they were pre-pandemic, and so we expect to see things get slightly better. But we're certainly not going to just reverse everything that we just did during the pandemic and get back to those pre-pandemic levels quickly," said Whitney Airgood-Obrycki with the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Airgood-Obrycki tells us rents are still increasing, but at a slower pace now in most places.

Another concern, though, is not having enough affordable apartments.

The report found the number of units with rents under $600 dropped to 7.2 million in 2022.

That's about 2 million fewer of those apartments than a decade ago.

"With the loss of affordable units that we've seen in the private market, and then, just the lack of assistance that exists, you could be looking as hard as you can. You could have access to all the resources, and still not be able to live in affordable housing or to receive assistance that you're eligible for," said Airgood-Obrycki.

Airgood-Obrycki said to fix this, our country needs to expand rental assistance and make it more available.

Some lawmakers in Congress are calling for that now.

There's also a bill in the works that would expand a federal program that gives tax credits to housing developers who have apartments set aside for low-income renters.

Supporters say that could mean 200,000 more affordable homes being built.

But if you need help now, calling 211 is a good place to start to find rent payment help.