The past two years have taken a huge toll on family finances, especially for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households. Making up 43% of the households across our region, these individuals and families work full-time but struggle to pay for basic necessities like rent, food and utilities. Dealing with the financial challenges brought on by Covid-19 put many of these households on the brink of financial disaster. Additionally, thousands of households across our region that had never faced financial hardships in the past joined the ALICE ranks.
Even though the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be behind us, a new challenge looms across the region. A new housing crisis study by the United Way Suncoast Data Team reveals that 1 in 2 families in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto Counties are rent-cost burdened. Economists define rent-cost burdened households as those spending more than 30% of their monthly income on rent.
Add in inflationary prices and other factors, and it’s a wave of challenges impacting a socio-economic spectrum of teachers, healthcare workers, police officers and other professionals feeling the effect on their budgets. Many of your coworkers, yourself included, may be feeling the strain right now.
The rent-burden statistic represents just one of the indicators the UWS Data Team is tracking in its new State of the Housing Crisis dashboard. The dashboard will update data from a variety of sources to examine rising rental rates, eviction filings and available emergency rental assistance (ERA) dollars, as well as detail our ongoing eviction mitigation efforts.
“We hope that this dashboard can be a clean and clear source of information for the community to continuously shine a light on the ongoing housing crisis in our communities,” said Doug Griesenauer, director workforce development and financial stability for UWS.
The U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey indicates that 40% of Florida respondents feel they are likely to be evicted from their home in the next two months.
Equally revealing: the data team discovered that a two-earner household with each making $15 an hour would still be classified as rent-burdened and unable to find affordable rental accommodations across our region. Meanwhile, the state minimum wage sits at $10 an hour.
United Way Suncoast has devoted $3M to eviction mitigation efforts that include funding the hiring of rental navigators, creating cohorts of nonprofit agencies, regional planning and information sharing to increase access to ERA dollars, and providing legal support to tenants facing eviction through a variety of Strategic Community Partners.
Please visit the State of the Housing Crisis dashboard to learn more about our efforts and access resources to share with your workplace.