The news of the government shutdown has brought to light the many roles of government and the adverse consequences a nonfunctioning government has on all of us. It’s a wake-up call to many who erroneously believed that they live their lives exclusively within the private sector, oblivious to the supportive partnership role that makes our country stronger, safer, cleaner, healthier and more prosperous.
The government’s role in supporting the housing market is vital and many took note of this during the foreclosure crisis. What many may not realize, however, is that the government’s role is also crucial for the rental housing market.
Almost a third of New Hampshire residents are renters, and most of the state’s renter population struggles with housing security and affordability. The decline in the home ownership market resulted in cost increases in the rental market. As demand increased, supply decreased and costs climbed. Median monthly rents in New Hampshire are now $1,018, up 9.7 percent since 2006. A family must earn $20.47 an hour to afford an average two-bedroom rental in New Hampshire and still have enough left over for food, transportation, health care and other necessities.
Right now, New Hampshire’s lowest-income families risk losing a place to call home. We need to add another 26,000 units of affordable housing to accommodate families making less than $40,000 a year, or half of New Hampshire’s median income. As it stands, 67,000 of these families are paying 50 percent or more of their income just to stay housed, and they’re living paycheck to paycheck.Read more »