Housing insecurity is a term being thrown around a lot lately. We hear it on the news, read about it in articles, and are being told how the pandemic is affecting it. But what does it mean, who does it affect, and what can you do about it?
What is Housing Insecurity?
Housing insecurity is the lack of security caused by high housing costs relative to income, poor housing quality, unstable neighborhoods, or overcrowding. Right now, we’re seeing an increase in housing insecurity due to high housing costs especially, which is when housing expenses take up more than 30% of a households monthly income(1).
Who is Affected by Housing Insecurity?
Housing insecurity can affect anyone, but disproportionately affect lower income families, as they often have to pay higher proportions of their income on high cost rent. During the pandemic crisis, lost wages and increased unemployment has made it harder for households to pay rent and bills (2). This has been compounded by an increase in housing costs and fewer homes and apartments on the market has made it difficult for many to find affordably priced housing (3).
What Does Housing Insecurity Look Like?
Housing Insecurity, like food insecurity, can look like many different things. It can mean living in a home with too many people sharing a space, or a home that has no heating in the winter. It can mean moving to new houses or apartments every few months, or sharing one home with another family. Most seriously, housing insecurity means experiencing homelessness, which can be living in shelters or cars, couch surfing, or living outdoors in a tent. You may have people in your life who are facing housing insecurity, and you could never know.
What Can I Do if I am Experiencing Housing Insecuring?
If you are experiencing housing insecurity, there are a variety of programs to assist you, including Family Promise of Southern Ocean County’s Anchors to Stay Prevention Program. This program provides financial aid on rent, mortgage, or security deposit payments for eligible families across Ocean County. Call us at (609) 994-3317 if you are in need of assistance.
How Can You Help?
The fastest and easiest way to help families who are experiencing housing insecurity is to support organizations in your area that work with those in need, like Family Promise. Since we launched our Anchors to Stay Prevention Program just six months ago, we have helped over 89 families in Ocean County get access to affordable housing, and we’re predicting the need to continue to grow. Families experiencing housing insecurity in Ocean County need help from people like you, and you can support us here.