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Report shows national death of affordable housing

A newly minted report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition about affordable housing in this country indicates that many low-income groups are increasingly vulnerable to homelessness, thanks to the high cost of rent and home ownership. The report specifically mentions those who receive Supplemental Security Income throughout Georgia and the rest of the nation.

According to the most recent statistics, about 8 million Americans receive SSI payments because they are elderly, blind or otherwise disabled. These same people have few economic resources at their disposal. The recently released report, called "Out of Reach," shows that with the maximum SSI payment of about $700 in 2012, people who participate in the program can only afford rent that is $200 per month or lower. It is unlikely that SSI payments alone can provide enough financial support to provide adequate housing for many of recipients.

The report reveals that people who work a full-time job earning only minimum wage cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any of the 50 states. Further, it is only possible for those workers to obtain a one-bedroom rental in a few states. Also, in 86 percent of counties, housing costs eclipse average hourly wages earned by renters, making safe and comfortable housing essentially inaccessible. In some parts of the nation, the report calculated a person who works full-time for minimum wage must have four jobs in order to effectively support a family.

Georgia is listed as one of the worst offenders, because the state has fewer affordable rental homes that are targeted toward low-income residents than most other states. Politicians should pay attention to this study, because people in Georgia are struggling.

Source: Housing Finance News, "Housing costs out of reach for millions of workers," March 28, 2012

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