HabiChat Newsletter March/April 2015
Needed: More Affordable Housing
By Charlotte Crane
For too many people in the Pensacola area, a roof over their heads – and the comfort and security that go with it – amounts to a luxury that’s not affordable.
Take a look at the statistics: An estimated 22,620 households in Escambia County are paying 50% or more of their income for housing – leaving much too little for other necessities. Another 22,638 households are paying 30% to 50% for housing. Together, these 45,238 households comprise 38% of the county’s total of 118,883 families.
Economists recommend that families pay no more than 30% of income for housing. “More than that and the family is considered cost-burdened,” says Tim Evans, executive director for Pensacola Habitat for Humanity. “That means that housing costs could cut into their ability to provide other necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”
In Santa Rosa County, of a total of 57,368 households, 8,083 paid 50% or more of their income for housing in 2013; 12,159 were paying 30 to 50% for housing.
The problem of lack of affordability isn’t limited to Northwest Florida. An estimated 12 million U.S. households now pay more than 50% of their income on housing, says Evans. The cost for a two-bedroom apartment is unaffordable anywhere in the U.S. for a household with only one income-earner getting minimum wage.