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Rents "Out of Reach" Despite Housing Slump
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Despite a glut of houses on the market, many from foreclosures, rents are not getting any cheaper.  In fact a new report says the Stamford-Norwalk area is the most expensive in the nation for rental housing.

The data comes from the Connecticut Housing Coalition, and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.  According to their latest survey families in the Stamford-Norwalk region must earn $32.75 an hour to be able to afford a typical two bedroom rental.  That’s four times the state’s minimum wage.  In Hartford this “housing wage” is almost $20 an hour. The figures are still climbing, despite the economic downturn, and the housing market slump. Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy and Research says policymakers must step in..

"You have vast amounts of abandoned homes, foreclosed properties that could provide good rental if they were properly maintained, if the owners had the right incentives to convert them into rental units and make them available.  We’ll continue to see a rapid increase in the number of people that are either unemployed or only can find part time work, all of whom are going to have a very hard time affording housing, and then at the same time we’re going to have the perverse situation of vast amounts of housing sitting vacant."

Activists in the state want to see Governor Rell restore proposed cuts to a range of housing initiatives in the upcoming budget, saying investment in housing is a key factor in economic recovery.