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Friday, July 1, 2016
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Report shows need for more affordable housing

City Council heard a summary of how the city spent federal funds received in fiscal year 2012-13 for affordable housing, non-profits and other agencies at their Sept. 17 meeting. Some of the statistics in the report paint a vivid picture of the need for affordable housing in Wilmington.

In 2012-13, the city received just over $1.6 million for programs designed to help low-to-moderate income families buy, rent or repair homes. The federal government defines a typical low-to-moderate income household as a family of four that has a gross yearly income of about $45,000. 

According to 2008 data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 64% of all owner-occupied households in Wilmington that fall into the low-to-moderate income range are paying at least a third of their total income for housing, leaving little left over for discretionary spending in the local economy for things such as groceries, clothing or appliances.

The numbers are even higher for families who rent a home or apartment, with almost half the rental units in Wilmington unaffordable to households with a low-to-moderate income. According to federal guidelines, a family in Wilmington would need to earn $15.69 an hour to afford an average two-bedroom apartment in Wilmington, which is about $816 a month. But the average wage of a renter in Wilmington is only $11.09 an hour, which means that same household would need to find an apartment for $577 a month. These figures cover households earning about $45,000 a year.

For a person making even less at the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, the monthly rent would need to be no more than $350 a month to keep the cost of housing from consuming too much of their monthly income so they could adequately afford food, childcare, clothing etc. 

The city operates several programs designed to help families with low-to-moderate incomes keep or buy affordable homes and also distributes federal funding for qualifying private developments such as the recently opened Lake Ridge Commons that has 75 apartments for seniors with low-to-moderate incomes. The city provided $650,000 in federal funds for the $9.2 million, privately owned development.

Click here to learn more about these housing programs.

 Click here to watch the presentation and Council’s discussion about affordable housing.

 Click here to see a PDF of the presentation.

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