Rising Utility Costs, Aging Housing Stock, Expiring Subsidies Hurting Low-Income Renters
Renting an apartment in Vermont is continuing to grow more difficult for the average resident, according to an updated report just released, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Housing and Wages in Vermont.”
The 2011 update shows a modest two-bedroom apartment in that state costing an average of $990 a month, a 7 percent increase over the year before and a 58 percent increase since 2000. A renter would need to earn an hourly wage of at least $19.03—or $39,595 annually—to afford this, says the report.
Although renting an apartment in Vermont has been a challenge because of the state’s rising costs and low vacancy rate, the report confirms that it continues to be more challenging for those on the lower end of the state’s income scale, according to Sarah Carpenter, executive director of Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), which published the report. “Recent cuts to the federal budget could seriously reduce the state’s limited affordable housing stock and severely hamper the millions of dollars of private investment in housing that is leveraged by those federal resources,” she said.
The situation is made graver by the state’s aging housing stock. The report estimates Vermont could lose up to 500 affordable housing units due to their deteriorating condition or lack of available resources to preserve the housing when federal affordability contracts expire and owners have the option to sell. Recapitalization of these older assisted housing projects is critical, Carpenter emphasized.