Family homelessness in Connecticut rose 15 percent in the last year as buying or renting homes became increasingly expensive in the state, according to an annual study from the Partnership for Strong Communities.
The study, comprised of 2010 Census data, counts from the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and other sources, found that the state’s homeless shelters remained at 100 percent capacity this year. So as homelessness rose, so did the number of families forced to live outdoors, the report said.
The report had more bad news. High unemployment and a slow economic recovery have caused an increase in the income disparity. According to the report the average household income of the lowest-earning 20 percent of Connecticut’s population fell from $14,525 in 2009 to $13,969 last year. Meanwhile the average household income of the highest-earning 20 percent also dropped $238,354 in 2009 to $233,617 in 2010.
The report found that despite home prices being low, Connecticut’s prices are among the most expensive in the nation leaving home-ownership out of reach for many residents.
The cost of renting has also increased. The report found that 27 percent of renters spend more than half their household income on housing. Fifty-one percent spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, it said.
The report recommended maintaining and increasing homes available through homeowner assistance, rental subsidies, and the creation of new small energy-efficient homes.
“Unless Connecticut can preserve and create a range of smaller, more affordable, energy-efficient, environmentally sound and transit-connected homes, it will not keep or attract the population it needs for a robust economy, high-performing students, and strong communities,” it read.