June 19, 2018
Contact: Florence Villano
860-563-2943, ext. 12 (w)
Housing Costs Illustrate
Financial Struggle Working Families Face
Connecticut has the 8th largest gap between average renter wage and the state’s two-bedroom housing wage; Stamford-Norwalk 5th Most Expensive Metro Area in Country
Connecticut continues as one of the most expensive states in the country for housing costs. According to Out of Reach 2018, the national report issued annually by the Connecticut Housing Coalition and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Connecticut has the 8th largest shortfall between average renter wage ($17.38) and the average two-bedroom housing wage ($24.90), a difference of $7.52.
The Report finds that a Connecticut household must earn $24.90 an hour (or $51,799 per year) to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment at HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR) of $1,295 a month. This “housing wage” is the income per hour that a household must earn to afford a home at the HUD-defined FMR; between 2017 and 2018, the annual housing wage rose by almost $400. Nationally, the housing wage is $22.10 for a two-bedroom apartment, up $.89 from that of 2017.
Those earning Connecticut’s minimum wage of $10.10 an hour would have to work 99 hours per week to pay the state’s FMR for a two-bedroom apartment. A person working full time at the state’s minimum wage can only afford to pay $525 a month for rent.
The housing wage in the Stamford-Norwalk metro area ($38.19) is the 5th highest in the country, behind Honolulu, HI ($39.06), Oakland-Fremont, CA ($44.79), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($48.50), and San Francisco, CA ($60.02).
Connecticut Housing Coalition’s Executive Director, Florence Villano said, “Connecticut’s housing numbers continue to be more than startling. The gap between wages and expenses for the state’s working families continues to widen.” Villano also said, “Given our over-the-top cost of living, the financial future of our state’s poorest families looks frightening.”
“The importance of affordable housing for children and families can’t be overstated. It is fundamental to family success, community stability, positive health outcomes, and educational achievement. Any plans to rebuild the state economically have got to include a strong commitment to affordable housing,” Villano said.
“We know that a large number of occupations in our state pay comparatively low wages. Many computer operators, construction workers, food service workers, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, and those providing other important infrastructural services in our cities and towns—such as fire and police—are paying far more than 30% of their income on housing,” Villano said.
“Governor Malloy and Commissioner Klein of the Connecticut Department of Housing have made affordable housing and ending homelessness priorities. But Connecticut still needs to preserve our precious affordable housing resources and prioritize new investments toward the working poor. We still have a way to go before all our households have an affordable roof over their heads.”
Rental figures are determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for apartments of moderate quality; population and income numbers come from the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.
# # #
The Connecticut Housing Coalition, which released Out of Reach 2018 in the state, provides education and advocacy on housing issues. Its membership includes over 250 organizations across Connecticut concerned about affordable housing—including nonprofit development corporations, social service agencies, resident associations, and diverse other housing advocates and providers.
The National Low Income Hosing Coalition (NLIHC) is a membership organization that educates, organizes and advocates for safe, decent, affordable housing for impoverished Americans. NLIHC provides low-income people, housing organizations, advocates and activists with the tools they need to carry out their own efforts to achieve these goals.
- The full Out of Reach 2018 report is available at http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/oor/OOR_2018.pdf
- Connecticut data can be found on pages 45 through 48 (pages 51 through 55 in the electronic version)
 Fair Market Rent is typically the 40th percentile of gross rents for standard rental units. FMRs are determined by HUD on an annual basis and reflect the cost of shelter and utilities. FMRs are used to determine payment standards for the Housing Choice Voucher program and Section 8 contracts.