ProJo: My Turn: Jeanne Cola: Huge numbers in R.I. can't afford housing
Posted: Jan 25, 2019 at 11:01 PM
Gov. Gina Raimondo's State of the State speech addressed many critical components needed for a healthy and prosperous Rhode Island, with one notable exception. In our view, having safe and affordable housing is a critical foundation for health equity, improvements in early learning and education, economic growth and workforce development. Without addressing the question of housing first, all other programs suffer from the outset.
The extreme shortage of housing has had a negative impact on the health and economic prosperity of our entire state and recent research paints an increasingly grim picture. The percentage of households considered cost burdened — those that pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing — has seen a steady increase.
There is now only one municipality where a family could afford to live with a $50,000 income. If that income increases to $70,000, there are only seven municipalities where they could call home. When you consider that in 2017 the median household income was just more than $61,000, the lack of affordable housing impacts a huge swath of residents including elderly, single parents, and young professionals.
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