Affordable housing means that after paying rent an individual has enough money left over to spend on the basic necessities of life. Rents that exceed 30% of income are deemed to be unaffordable. Households spending between 30% and 50% of their income on rent are said to be “moderately cost-burdened”; those over 50% are “severely cost -burdened”. In Georgia, 52% of low-income renter households are severely cost-burdened. One illness, car repair, job loss, or unforeseen event can leave them unable to pay their monthly rent.
It’s not that people are choosing to rent more than they can afford-it’s that there are no other options. Only 38 affordable housing units are available in our state for every 100 of the poorest households.
Why should everyone in Georgia care about the lack of affordable housing? Because having affordable housing available in every community is important to provide for people’s basic needs, ensure a diverse community, disrupt the cycle of poverty, and provide better health and educational outcomes. It also reduces the strain on our transportation systems in the metro areas by reducing commutes and traffic congestion. Quite simply, it makes our state a better place to live.