With a healthy job market and lively attractions, Columbus is among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. But the boom feels more like a bust to many
residents whose lives are compromised by the high cost of housing.
With affordable housing in short supply in Central Ohio, low-wage earners and their children are forced to live in inadequate housing where they can experience health problems, struggle academically, and become mired in economic distress. Without affordable and safe housing options, it’s hard for parents to make life better for their children.
Affordable and accessible housing is so scarce for lower-income seniors and persons with disabilities that they too often reside in institutional-style facilities, lowering their quality of life and raising costs for taxpayers.
Everyone deserves a stable foundation in life
A stable home provides a solid platform for positive growth, vibrant neighborhoods, and economic prosperity. When housing is safe and affordable, individuals have a stable foundation to pursue healthy lifestyles, education, and better jobs. As growing numbers of older adults prefer to age in place, their home becomes their refuge and health-care center.
Strong communities offer a continuum of housing choices and create paths to homeownership,
empowering families and contributing to Franklin County’s economic growth. Affordable housing promotes a livable community for everyone, fosters diversity, and makes Columbus a magnet for career professionals and families alike.
Housing insecurity is on the rise
Housing costs are stressing the wallets and lives of a growing number of Columbus-area residents. Of the lowest-income households in Columbus, 54,000 allocate more than half their income on housing. They live in housing they really can’t afford because their wages are insufficient. Similarly, inadequate income and savings to afford downpayments and housing costs are powerful barriers to homeownership for low-income and minority families.
A worker in Columbus would have to earn $15.98 an hour to afford Columbus’ market rate of $831 for a two-bedroom for herself and her son – or double her income earning minimum wage. She would have to labor 77 hours per week just to keep a roof over their heads, let alone pay for food, doctor’s bills, and bus fare to get to work.
Health and well-being at risk
Housing-insecure households, those spending more than half of their monthly income on housing, often have family members who suffer from health problems caused by their substandard surroundings such as asthma, injuries and traumatic stress caused by violence. The damages are even more acute for people with disabilities, infants and older adults.
Too often, high housing costs push people out of their homes. The Community Shelter Board reports that the number of homeless families went up by 64% compared to 2011.