Press Release: Families Lack Affordable Housing Statewide, Rent burdens leave families and communities without a firm foundation

 

For Immediate Release: April 29, 2019

Media contact: Fern Whyland, Communications Director, whyland@fiscalpolicy.org, 315-436-0558

(Albany, NY) Today the Fiscal Policy Institute released a new report “Nearly Half of New York Renters Are Rent Burdened” (add link) showing a majority of renting families statewide are “rent-burdened” meaning that they pay over the recommended standard of 30% of their income in rent – and for families of color that percentage climbs even higher. FPI cautions that the effects of rent burdens hurt families, local communities, and the state. With the state legislature set to consider tenant protections and rent regulation in the remaining days of the 2019 legislative session, this is a timely report that should inform the discussion.

Statement from Ron Deutsch, Executive Director:

“Affordable housing is not a “Downstate” vs. “Upstate” issue – it is a statewide problem leaving families without a stable foundation to build for the future. It is impossible to talk about creating economic growth across the state without first addressing families’ needs for affordable housing.”  

Excessively high rent burdens translate into many struggling families who find it hard, in some cases impossible, to pay for the essentials including food, transportation, utilities, not to mention any other important expenses like education or recreation. This robs New Yorkers of opportunities and holds them back preventing them and their communities from thriving. Many low-income families are rent-burdened or severely rent-burdened and could be only one or two paychecks away from homelessness.

Statement from Jonas Shaende, Chief Economist:

“The lack of affordable housing impacts everyone. While New York City has most of the rental units in the state, the number of people renting homes has increased statewide over the last decade. In New York State, almost half the families renting homes spend over 30% of their income on rent. This often puts them in financial jeopardy with little left to spend on other essentials and at risk of losing their homes. This is not a healthy statistic for families or communities.”

Rent burdens especially impact families of color as they pay well above the 30% threshold across the state. Upstate the percentage climbs to 45% in Buffalo, 49% in Albany, 51% in Syracuse, and 60% in Rochester. These numbers highlight the critical need to consider rent regulation as a statewide concern rather than continuing to deal with the issue piecemeal.

Some Upstate communities have already begun grappling with this issue with housing advocates and local governments considering ways to protect tenants in communities including Hudson, Newburgh, New Paltz, Kingston, Ithaca, and Rochester.

To learn more, please read FPI’s report.

The Fiscal Policy institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all.

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