Owning a house has long since been part of the American Dream. It’s been so important to people immigrating to this country, people living in this country, that it’s interesting how unobtainable owning a house is today.
Even renting is difficult. Play this game. It will give you a little look into the challenge of finding affordable housing in the different counties of Connecticut.
People don’t realize just how long the housing market has been messed up, specifically through zoning. People being told that they wouldn’t be good to get loans from the bank based on how their neighborhood looks sounds absurd, but it’s how things still operate. If you live in a district that is a “red zone” then kiss that loan goodbye.
These outdated zoning laws are one of the major things keeping people from moving into more affluent neighborhoods, and most of these zones are the same from the 1920s. A red zone had a lot of people of color, immigrants, and poor laborers. The green zones were full of land, wealthy properties, and “good” (white) people. If the maps of the zones then were laid over maps from today, the red zones are still poor, and the green zones are still better-off.
This makes it almost impossible for people in the red zones to get into the zones that are green. It doesn’t help that people need to earn about $20.30 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, in order to keep from spending more than 30 percent of their income on their house, according to National Low Income Housing Coalition. That means that at the federal minimum wage, it would take about 90 hours of work a week to afford a two-bedroom house.
Everything is stacked against people living in poverty, even people who technically live above minimum wage, but not enough to change their situation. Something has to change, even if it’s just by starting to get rid of the idea that you have to own your house to achieve the American Dream. Renting is a viable option.
By Kate Sahagian