In 2017 almost half (48.5%) of renters in Connecticut spend over 30% of their household income on rent, more than renters in all but seven other states. The analysis by SHADAC found that Connecticut has been in the top ten states for most unaffordable rents in five of the last six years and the rate hasn’t varied much over time. A growing body of literature is demonstrating the importance of affordable housing on health.
Unfortunately, the burden of unaffordable rents falls hardest on low income households – 81.0% for annual incomes under $25,000 but only 13.6% for households over $50,000. There are also troubling disparities in unaffordable rents for Connecticut residents with a disability (57% with disability, 45.6% no disability) and non-white households (43.2% white, 53.2% non-white). Unlike other states, there is little difference in unaffordable rents between metropolitan and other areas of Connecticut – rents are too high everywhere.
The concentration of unaffordable rents in Connecticut households with a Medicaid enrollee (61.8% vs. 38.9% for households without a Medicaid member) is substantial. Studies have found that targeted housing interventions for low income households have improved both health outcomes and costs. Thankfully, our state Medicaid program recently announced plans to cover supportive housing services for members facing homelessness.