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Report: Colorado lacks rental inventory for lowest-income residents

Fri, Jun 17, 2011

News

While there are more affordable rentals for low-income residents in Colorado Springs than there are in Boulder or Fort Collins, they’re still lacking.

A report released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Housing shows that there are about 1.7 households in Colorado Springs making an average of $20,000 a year for every rental unit priced at $499 a month, which is what such a household can afford before becoming rent-burdened.

A rent-burdened household is one that pays more than 30 percent of its income in rent each month.

Households with incomes of $15,000 a year are in worse shape, with there being 2.7 such households for every available unit in their price range. There are 2.3 households earning $10,000 a year for every available unit, according to the report.

“There wasn’t anything surprising in this report,” said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Department of Housing. “But it really reinforces that we need to focus our policy on addressing the need at the lower end of the income scale.”

Once a family reaches the $35,000 a year income level, it becomes easier to find a place to live without becoming rent burdened, McMaken said. That seems to be the magic number, which makes sense because it’s near the median income in most areas, he said.

In Colorado Springs, there are 1.1 families earning $25,000 for every available unit in their price range and 0.8 families earning $35,000 a year for every available unit averaging $875 per month, which is what they can afford before becoming rent burdened.

“As far as supply of units is concerned, there are enough for the median income levels. It’s below that where we need to look for solutions,” McMaken said.

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