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Housing Costs Remain Out Of Reach for Many Hudson Valley Renters

Housing Costs Remain Out Of Reach for Many Hudson Valley Renters

NEWBURGH (June 19, 2019) – Housing that is affordable continues to be out of reach for many Hudson Valley residents as rents rise at a faster pace than wages, making the gap between what people can afford to pay and what it costs to rent in the region even wider, according to an analysis of data by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress’ Center for Housing Solutions.

An examination of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report released this week shows that renters in all nine Hudson Valley counties would have to work far more than a full-time job in order to afford the cost of a two-bedroom apartment. In Rockland County, for example, the average hourly wage for renters is $10.98. At that wage, a worker could only afford a monthly rent payment of $571, yet the average monthly rent of a two-bedroom apartment in Rockland is $1,831. To close this $1,260 gap, a renter would have to work 128 hours a week to afford the apartment.

“The bottom line is that rents are simply unaffordable for the people we count on every day,” said Joe Czajka, senior vice president of Pattern and the executive director of the Center for Housing Solutions. “Many people working in healthcare, like home health aides and personal care aides, as well as janitors, laborers, waitresses, retail clerks and people working in warehouses, are finding it nearly impossible to afford housing without going into debt or cutting back on other essentials.”

For years, the Center for Housing Solutions has been analyzing rental housing and wage data, and providing statistics and trends to help communities, developers, builders and non-profit agencies plan and construct housing that is affordable in the Hudson Valley region.

Its analysis of the latest “Out of Reach” data shows that although there have been some increases in the renters’ wage rates and some declines in the fair market rents, overall, the monthly affordability gap for rental housing has not shown any significant decline.

Many luxury rental housing complexes under construction in the Hudson Valley include studios, and one and two-bedroom apartments that rent from between $1,500 to $2,500 per month in the Mid-Hudson area and much higher in the lower Hudson Valley. However, there is an insufficient supply of workforce housing, especially in areas close to employment centers.

“The monthly rent gap is enormous, and with increases in health care costs, transportation and other everyday expenses, there is little room for savings and not much disposable income,” said Czajka. “This impacts many sectors of the economy, especially the health of our Main Streets and downtowns.”

The Center for Housing Solutions believes it is critical that federal housing programs like Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program continue to be funded. These provide vital incentives to builders of affordable apartments, down payment and closing cost assistance for first time homebuyers, and help for existing homeowners who may need a new roof, boiler or insulation.

A detailed analysis of housing affordability in the Hudson Valley can be found here.