Connecticut has made strides in reducing homelessness and increasing its affordable housing stock, but affordability remains a challenge for a state with the sixth-highest housing costs in the nation, according to an update from the Partnership for Strong Communities, a non-profit housing advocacy group.
The state has effectively ended chronic homelessness among veterans, and has progressed in curbing general chronic homelessness, which is down 20 percent based on snapshot data from 2015 to 2016.
At least 10 percent of the housing stock in 31 percent of towns in the state is deemed affordable, the group notes, and the statewide inventory of affordable units has grown by 2 percent.
But high costs compared to income make for a financial stretch for a large share of Connecticut residents.
Connecticut has the sixth-highest median monthly housing cost, at $1,398, after only Hawaii at $1,533; New Jersey, $1,500; Maryland, $1,440; California, $1,438; and Massachusetts, $1,410. The nationwide median is $1,009. Some 49 percent of renters and 30 percent of homeowners are “burdened” — paying more than 30 percent of their income toward housing costs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That figure has remained flat, the Partnership report finds.
Another measure of owners’ and renters’ ability to pay cited in the report is the United Way’s Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, or ALICE report, released this summer, which estimates a “survival” income in Connecticut of $70,788 for a 4-member family and $22,656 for an individual. According to the Partnership report, 38 percent of Connecticut households are below that threshold. Strikingly, there were 145 out of 169 Connecticut towns where at least 20 percent of households earned below that “survival” amount.
The report also looks at the shift from home ownership to renting. The share of homeowners compared with renters declined from 69 percent owning homes to around 66 percent. Trend CT’s analysis of home ownership from 2010 to 2005 Census data found the share of homeowners dropped in every state over that period, and Connecticut’s 2.2 percent drop was close to the median 2.4 percent drop.