CT housing gains slowed by economy, demographics

Connecticut increased affordable housing and reduced homelessness during Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s first term, but “monumental demographic and economic pressures worked to slow that momentum,” according to a report released Thursday.

The annual analysis of housing affordability by the Partnership for Strong Communities found that a nearly $600 million housing investment by the Malloy administration began showing results as 1,700 affordable housing units were produced in 2013 and 2014.

Another 3,000 units are now in production.

But the state’s “housing wage” — the hourly income required to afford a two-bedroom rental — is $23.02, still the 8th highest in the nation. Nearly half of renters pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and demand is increasing.

“Rental housing demand has been spurred by downsizing baby boomers with little savings, Millennials with substantial education debt and urban lifestyles, and working-class households that have seen median incomes fall 6 percent in real dollars since 1989,” the report said.

Income inequality remains the second highest in the U.S.

In 2013, the share of all income shrank for the bottom 80 percent of Connecticut residents to 47 percent in 2013 from 48 percent in 2012 . It increased for the top 20 percent and more so for the top five percent, whose mean household income was $497,317.

Despite those economic and demographic pressures, homelessness decreased. Some of the $600 million committed by the Malloy administration has funded supportive housing and other services to help the homeless, and the partnership found measurable improvement.

From 2012 to 2013, there was a 10 percent decrease in single adults experiencing chronic homelessness: 2,695 individuals in 2013, compared to 3,006 in 2012.

Households experiencing homelessness dropped by four percent, and homelessness among veterans fell by six percent. Chronic homelessness among veterans dropped 13 percent to 239 persons, leading housing advocates to say they could eliminate chronic homelessness among vets in the next two years.

The full report is available online. See the trends in the number of homeless adults, families and unaccompanied children between 2007 and 2013, released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last month, here.

 

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