Renting has long been a temporary step toward home ownership or a permanent part of living on a tight budget.When people would sit down to work out a budget, devoting 25 percent or 30 percent of monthly income to rent was the “affordable” part of still paying the other bills and maybe saving a bit. But that calculation no longer works for millions of people.
Rents are rising and individuals and families are spending more each month on housing, forcing tough choices between shelter and essentials, such as food and medicine. While local programs offer some assistance, the federal government has no appetite for addressing the crisis in affordable housing, and experts say without a coordinated national effort, the crisis will deepen.
Boosting the city’s population of residents without school-age children could also weaken support and investment in Boston schools and educational programs while at the same time increase demand for senior services in cities, say some experts. “Why am I paying such high property tax to send others to schools?” said Barry Bluestone, an author of the Boston Foundation report and director of Northeastern’s Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.