In comparison to a lot of places like, say Boston, Springfield would rate as a pretty inexpensive place to live. With rents hovering around the $800 – $1500 mark, some folks might say that we’re pretty lucky. But for many of us (self included) this is still too high. When you take into account utilities, groceries, and other associated cost, trying to maintain even a studio apartment can seem a bit challenging.
Yesterday the Massachusetts senate approved an affordable housing bill. While it’s still too soon to tell whether this bill will improve things in this area, the cost of rents in cities like Springfield, that struggle economically should be reassessed.
I consider myself quite fortunate. I’ve got a decent job and make decent money, yet myself and others like me still consistently struggle to find housing in this area for several reasons.
1) High Rent
A recent article citing a Harvard study noted that when people are forced to spend so much in rent much of their other cost of living are affected. When you calculate that you’ll be spending more than half of your income on rent much of your other available income is spent just scraping by, leaving little left for essentials like healthcare, transportation, and higher education.
2) First, Last, and Security
While many apartments no longer require all three, coming up with 2 months worth of rent for an apartment already priced at the borders of your budget can be almost impossible.
3) Credit Checks
While a person’s credit history can detail information on the person’s ability to repay debt, this credit history has NOTHING to do with whether or not they can maintain their place of residence. A positive rental history is not reflected in a credit report nor are any of the associated cost. For example if I consistently pay my rent on time over 5 years in addition to on-time utility payments this will never be reflected in my credit history. But the few times I might have been late paying on a store credit card might. Yet this will affect my ability to find housing.
Affording housing is still a hot button issue in many urban areas. And with many areas still dealing with a depressed economic system, we need to find housing solutions that match the availability of economic opportunity and the earning ability of city residents.