(Host) According to a new study, it’s becoming harder and harder for many Vermonters to find affordable housing. The report, released by the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, found that nearly half of all Vermonters pay more than 30% of their income for housing.
The study found that the rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment is roughly $700 a month. This means a single person must have an income of at least $28,000 if they are to allocate less than a third of their income to housing.
Sara Carpenter, executive director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, says there’s no doubt that housing costs are rising much faster than wages. Carpenter says this situation means that many employees have to consider living quite a distance from their jobs:
(Carpenter) “That’s often the impact because the lower priced homes and rentals are often not in downtown cities and near where the major employers are. That’s sort of one impact, or they may be living in more substandard housing.”
(Host) Carpenter says it’s critical that communities develop plans to build more affordable housing units in the near future:
(Carpenter) “We need to build more housing, that’s what will help us solve the problem. But it’s taking increasingly longer to do it and it takes significant public resources to make it happen. And we want to keep that before everybody because it isn’t going away until we build more housing.”
(Host) Carpenter says the shortage of affordable housing extends well beyond Chittenden County and has now developed into a statewide concern.