A study published by The National Low Income Housing Coalition in 2018 found that a renter working 40 hours a week and earning minimum wage can afford a typical two-bedroom apartment (without being cost-burdened) in ZERO counties nationwide. Three years later, the situation hasn't changed much. Housing, a basic human necessity, has become inaccessible for the average minimum wage worker.
Rent prices in the whole country continue rising. It has been estimated that they have increased by 11.4% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to housing shortages and high demand. In immigrant communities, the increase in rent prices has a more significant financial impact given that historically people of color have a lower income than their white counterparts. In addition, many of our members were disproportionately financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as they lost their jobs, savings, and some had to sell their assets to survive. It will probably take years for our communities to recover from the economic impact caused by the pandemic, so rent increases do nothing but aggravate the financial situation.
As mentioned earlier, the leading cause for the rent increases is the housing shortage. Earlier this year, the National Association of Realtors published a study that revealed that our country is not building enough houses to compensate for the population growth. According to this study, around 1.2 million homes are currently built per year, and we need about 5.5 million to satisfy demand. The shortage is now affecting the whole country. However, the problem is more significant in California, North and South Florida, and some New Jersey and New York metropolitan regions. CATA has an office in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where our members have been notably affected by the housing crisis. On average, in Southern Chester County, a two-bedroom apartment goes up from $1,100 to $1,600. Many agricultural workers struggle to pay that money without compromising other needs like food and childcare.
According to the White House website, the government is exploring ways to resolve the housing crisis in the country. In September of this year, they revealed several proposals to address the issue, including creating grants to help build more low-income housing, particularly multifamily housing. They are also planning to incentivize builders by giving tax credits, subsidies, and affordable financing. They expect to create or rehabilitate over 2 million housing units through these changes.
What do you think about the housing crisis? Have you been affected, or do you know someone who was affected? You are welcome to share your opinion with us!
Do you live in Pennsylvania? Do you have questions about your employment or immigration rights? Make an appointment and visit us at the CATA office in Kennett Square, PA, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM. CATA's Pennsylvania office has a new location: 312 West State Street, Suite 210, Kennett Square, PA, 19348 Make an appointment! (610) 444 9696