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Affordable Housing By The Numbers

Posted: 2012-11-29 15:44:33

Housing is considered affordable if it consumes 30% or less of a household's gross income.  Generally when households spend more than 30% of their income to meet housing costs, they do not have enough income to meet other basic needs or weather financial setbacks.  Minnesota Housing Partnership reported in the 2012 “Homes For All in St. Louis County” report that:

  • 79% of families who rent in St. Louis County with incomes of $20,000 or less are paying more than 30% of their income to meet their housing need.
  • 54% of renting families who rent in St. Louis County with incomes between $20,000 and $35,000 are paying more than 30% of their income to meet their housing need. 

The report also states that, “Growing demand plus a limited supply of rental housing is leading to higher rents and limited choice in many areas.  Where a shortage of rental homes exists, the burden is heaviest for the lowest-income renters. In St. Louis County, for every 100 extremely low income renters there are 38 units that are affordable and available.”

These statistics represent 13325 families who are forced to make tough decisions between day to day necessities like groceries and medical care and keeping a roof over their heads.  This is not a sustainable way for families to operate.

The average fair market rent in St. Louis County for a three-bedroom apartment is $863.  In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $34,528 annually.  The estimated median income for renters in 2012 was $22,214.  (Out of Reach 2012) 

The average monthly payment for a three bedroom, energy efficient, Habitat house is $400 which includes $130 for an escrow account to cover taxes and insurance.  Habitat for Humanity seeks to serve families in North St. Louis County that fall within 30% to 50% of the area's median family income and have a minimum income of $20,000.  This is an income which would support an average Habitat home's monthly mortgage payment.  Habitat for Humanity works with people who would not qualify for a conventional mortgage to provide them with an opportunity to build their own energy efficient home and a way out of the cycle of poverty.

North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity participated in a Homeowner Impact Pilot Study that was conducted by Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota. 

A few of the impacts that Habitat for Humanity is having in the community are:

  • 73% of Habitat homeowners feel more connected to their community
  • 31% reduction in the use of food support
  • 73% reduction in the use of welfare assistance
  • 100% of Habitat homeowners are paying property taxes in their local community

For more information on the impact Habitat for Humanity is having on local communities and families check out the full Homowner Impact Pilot Study Report 2011.