Expensive Housing & Wealth Inequality

Source: rentcafe.com

Expensive housing prices are putting America into a vicious cycle of wealth inequality.

Look at public schooling. It’s no secret state and local property taxes are the major source of funding for schools.

In fact, local property taxes account for approximately 93 percent of education expenditures, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That means towns with high property values have virtually no problem generating the money to fund public schools.

Poorer towns, on the other hand, don’t have these advantages. This only deepens the wealth divide, as education clearly matters when it comes to this issue.

Mean Earnings by Highest Degree Earned, $: 2009 (SAUS, table 232)
Mean Earnings by Highest Degree Earned: 2009 (SAUS, table 232)

This certainly can be seen in Connecticut.

Each year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition calculates the “housing wage.” This is the “hourly wage needed to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment in metro areas throughout the United States.”

Connecticut’s housing costs are the 8th highest, with an average housing wage of $24.29.

Affluent towns including WestportNew Canaan, and Weston have a housing wage of $37.37. It’s a different story for the low-income cities. Bridgeport’s housing wage is $24.67, while  New Britain and Hartford are at $22.00.

Compare this to Connecticut’s school district rankings. New Canaan, Westport, and Weston are found at the top of the school district rankings, while Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Britain are bottom feeders.

Is there a way to offer equal opportunities and better education to low income residents?

Partnership for Strong Communities, Policy Director, David Fink is working to provide affordable housing to struggling residents.

Source: pschousing.org
Source: pschousing.org

Fink is aware that people are generally very defensive when they hear the words, “affordable housing.”

He compares offering affordable housing in affluent communities to giving a child vegetables.

“You don’t give it too them all at once,” he says. “Out of 50 new developments, you offer 10 as affordable housing.”

Fink says people realize affordable housing “isn’t so bad,” after seeing the long-term results.

“After time people will realize that it’s not the crips and the bloods moving in. It’s the nurses, and hardworking families.”

By: Jackson Rioux

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