Affordable Rents Slipping Away

By Tim Henderson, Stateline – Like a growing number of renters across the country, Christene James of Jackson, Mississippi is near the end of her rope. Her part-time job as a gas station cashier no longer covers expenses since her fiancé’s layoff at a water meter technology supplier. “The pay is so low at most places, the rent becomes unaffordable,” she said. “After gas, food and necessities for our 2-year-old daughter, we are back to zero, which makes us apt to take out small payday loans which push us further back.” Renters across the country are struggling to pay their rents. In many cases, it’s because rents are climbing faster than renters’ incomes. A Stateline analysis of Census Bureau data shows that in 27 states, the median or typical renter is now spending more than 30 percent of income on rent, a situation considered “burdensome” by federal standards. That’s...

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