In this week’s News Round-Up, we find news stories showing that both natural disasters, and the disastrous economy, have combined with the nationwide shortage of rental housing affordable to low income people to create a crisis for many American families.
In Vermont, manufactured home park residents whose homes were flooded during Hurricane Irene had no other choice but to destroy their own homes, as repair was impossible and the fee to dispose of them was more than the residents could afford. In a state with the second lowest rental vacancy rates and the seventh highest rents, these former homeowners will have a tough time finding a place they can afford. They will also find themselves in competition with other low income families for scarce affordable rental opportunities. As the need grows, service providers have difficulty stretching the state and federal funding available to them, and must cobble together donations and other resources to help their clients.
Franklin County, Pennsylvania’s shelter system is under stress due to the poor economy and lack of housing affordable to low income people. Waiting lists for vouchers and public housing mean the shelters stay full.
We find a similar story in Indiana, where the minimum and low wage jobs available pay nowhere near the $17.84 Housing Wage there. Service providers say they’re seeing an increase in homeless families in particular.