R's Story: The Story Of The Local Housing Crisis
The work of HOPE is a labor of love, and it is often heartbreaking. Since 2017, the biggest challenge we face in assisting men as they work so very hard to establish their independent and self-sufficient lives is helping them find a home to rent.
By the time most Men of HOPE are ready to transition, they earn approx. $10.00 an hour and work full-time.
Let’s take “R” for example. He works full-time at $10 an hour. His take home is roughly $15,000 annually and $1,250monthly. A sustainable housing budget for him is $375 a month. That just does not exist in the west GA region. Even if he were to find an apartment at or below 50% of his income ($625 a month-which is also extremely rare in this area), it is likely to be in deplorable condition or so small his children wouldn’t be able to visit for the holidays. For example, in Carrollton recently a 200 sq. ft. “apartment" was on the market for $525 a month. If he could find an apartment to rent at 1/2 his take-home income, he’ll have $625 remaining for utilities, food, car payment, and insurance. “R” will survive because he’s smart, strong, and determined. But he can only survive while he’s able to work full-time. He cannot retire. He cannot fall ill. He cannot take a vacation.
“R” works hard and earns well above minimum wage. Shouldn’t that be enough to be able to afford a comfortable life? He’s not asking for a mansion in Sunset Hills. He just wants a safe home big enough for his kids to come spend the weekend and still be able to afford his car, food, and eventually to retire.
Homelessness Awareness is Housing Awareness
- There is a correlation between homelessness increasing in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and the significant increases in housing costs.
- Half of those who are housed are only precariously housed and are vulnerable to homelessness in the near future
- Approximately 12% of Americans are “cost burdened” (spending more than 30% of their income on housing)
- A $400 unexpected expense or sudden job loss could catapult most Americans into homelessness
NORC, University of Chicago 2019
Harvard University, State of Housing, 2018
- Average rent in Carroll County, including the city: $1,000
- Local median incomes are the equivalent of $24 an hour in the county and $20 in the city
- Sustainable rent/mortgage budget for local median incomes: county—$930.15, city—$768.677
- Most west Georgians who make the median income or below and did not buy their homes prior to 2017 are spending more than they can afford on housing (are cost burdened).
- Sustainable rent/mortgage budget for someone making $13.50 an hour and working full-time: $506
- West GA does not have enough housing for individuals making $13.50 an hour or less.
- Our housing crisis is NOT a “poor people” or “uneducated people” or “unemployed people” problem.
- Our housing crisis is a problem for people: low-income to middle-income*, undereducated to highly educated*, unemployed to employed full-time*
6 Parsons, UWG, State of the Community 2018
7 hourly rate*40*50*.75*.30/12= (assumes 50 week working year, 25% withholding, etc., 30% housing budget)
8 U.S. Census ($49,608 county; $40,996 city)
*Tiffany, co-founder of Impact West GA, full-time sociologist at UWG for 12 years, has multiple degrees, lives in the city, and cannot afford the average rent.