/High rent, low wages contribute to housing crisis

High rent, low wages contribute to housing crisis

The 44 townhomes were built using financing from the federal low income housing tax credit program. Developers broke ground for the project in December 2013. Plans to expand the development and build another 88 townhomes near Jackson are also in the works. Advocates claim that approximately 286,000 Mississippians have still not met their housing needs despite recent efforts. Mississippi faces an affordability crisis that has multiple causes. Phil Eide is a senior vice president of Hope Enterprise Corp., a Mississippi-based nonprofit financial services organization. He says that there are a lack of high-paying jobs and affordable homes for rent or purchase in Mississippi. Eide stated that overall, the situation is bleak. He also said that it has been difficult for low-income families trying to make a living. According to Out of Reach, a report by the Washington, D.C.-based National Low Income Housing Coalition, Mississippi’s problems reflect a larger national trend. Nationally, a renter must make $20.30 per hour to afford a two bedroom apartment. A one-bedroom unit costs $16.35 per an hour. The report’s authors also state that to be able to afford a fair-market rent two-bedroom apartment at fair market rental, a person earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (which is also the state maximum wage in Mississippi) would have to hold at least three full-time jobs or work about 112 hours per week. Mississippi’s average renter earns $10.64 an hour. This makes up 31 percent of Mississippi households. Renters in Mississippi have to work 78 hours per week to be able to afford fair-market rent for two-bedroom apartments at $732 per month. Scott Spivey is the executive director of Mississippi Home Corp., which administers financing for affordable housing programs. He said that because rents are higher than wages, it makes it difficult for families to pay rent each month and keep some money aside for emergency situations. Spivey stated that housing costs in Mississippi are so high that for many families, a broken arm or sick child is all that’s needed to be able pay their bills. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing costs are considered affordable when they are less than 30% of a person’s wages. Housing that costs more than this is considered unaffordable as it eats into household expenses like groceries and healthcare. According to the seasonally adjusted Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mississippi’s unemployment rate of 6 percent was 44th in the country as of April 2016. Phil Eide, Hope’s director of communications, stated that the combination of high unemployment and low wages in Mississippi for those struggling to pay rent causes a variety quality-of-life problems. Eide asked, “How long can we expect people not to be at home with their families?” Clarence Chapman of Chartre Consulting in Oxford, who developed the East Village Estates in Jackson, and other projects throughout the state, stated that his projects aim to improve the quality of life by creating safe and stable neighborhoods as well as family support services. Chapman stated that to rebuild communities you must rebuild your people. He said this about Chapman’s home. Chartre and other developers create homes using low-income housing tax credits. Mississippi currently has 12 such projects. Each year, Mississippi receives $6.8million in tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service. Developers can apply for the credits from the state. These credits are purchased by investors to offset their federal taxes over a period of 10 years. This subsidises the housing project’s cost. Federal officials point out the federal Section 8 program, the housing tax credit program and other federal initiatives, as examples of private and public sectors working together to address the affordable housing crisis. There is a $26 billion backlog in public-housing renovations. Christian Housing Development Corp. executive director Doris Franklin in Columbus said that many families are stuck in older housing as there isn’t enough to build. She said that there is a lot of older housing available, which families use as a last resort. “There is very little new construction and many rentals. “People are renting because it’s easy.” A cash injection for federal housing tax credits could provide some relief. U.S. Senators. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), introduced legislation to increase tax credits for states by 50 percent over the next five-years by taking unused funds from tax credit programs. Housing advocates and officials from Mississippi plan to lobby Congress to support the bill. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to our Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story You can freely republish our articles online or in print under a Creative Commons licence. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. R.L. Mississippi Today, Nave
May 25, 2016, Ryan L. Nave was born in University City, Mo. and served as Mississippi Today’s editor in chief from May 2018 to April 2020. Ryan started his career at Mississippi Today in February 2016, as an original member on the editorial team. He was appointed news editor in August 2016. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri Columbia. He has previously worked as a news editor at the Jackson Free Press and for Illinois Times. Renters must work 78 hours per week in order to afford fair market rent of $732/month for two-bedroom housing._x000D
It sounds perfectly reasonable to me. It sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
Anecdote: When I first moved to Mississippi, I was amazed at how affordable hosing was.