Today’s Read: The Housing Affordability Crisis

Skyrocketing rents across New York City are the primary cause of the homelessness crisis. More and more New Yorkers are straining under the rising cost of living – and many people are just one missed paycheck or one unexpected medical bill away from eviction. The housing affordability gap continues to widen, as incomes have lagged significantly behind housing costs.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach 2015 report, there is not one state in the entire country where a person working full-time at a minimum-wage job can afford a one-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent.

New York State has the fourth-highest housing wage required: In order to afford a one-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent, a minimum-wage employee would have to work 98 hours every week.

And in New York City, a person would need to make $28.48 per hour just to afford a fair market 2-bedroom apartment – far more than the current $8.75 minimum wage.

These disheartening figures partly explain why an increasing number of employed New Yorkers find themselves in the crowded shelter system. An estimated 30 percent of homeless families in NYC have jobs – and the number of employed shelter residents rose 57 percent between 2010 and 2013.

For this reason, the Coalition continues to advocate for housing-based solutions to homelessness in addition to an increase in the minimum wage. The Out of Reach report makes it clear that the current system isn’t working for the many minimum-wage employees across the country – and especially for the hardworking New Yorkers who still experience the trauma of homelessness.

Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2017

The President’s FY 2016 Budget request includes an increase of $265 million in HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants. If funded by Congress, this would help to create the supportive housing necessary to achieve an end to chronic homelessness in 2017. Doing so will not only save and improve quality of lives, it will also save money. Ending chronic homelessness could reduce avoidable public costs such as avoidable emergency department visits, jail, and shelter costs.

300,000 Seniors in Poverty Across State, With Latinos Hit Hard in NYC, New Report Says

More than 300,000 seniors in the state are living in poverty, with the problem hitting Latinos in the city especially hard, according to a report due to be released Saturday.

Citing data from the state Community Action Association, the report by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) says that 11.6% of the elderly population lives in poverty. In New York City, 30% of Latino seniors, 25.6% of Asians and 20.1% of blacks live in poverty, the report says. Among white seniors in the city, the poverty rate is 15.1%.

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