HUNGER AND THE LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The number one reason why hungry Long Islanders come to us for help is the lack of affordable housing. Here are a few local stats compiled by the Long Island Community Foundation.
• To stay within the traditional formula of paying no more than 30% of household income for housing costs (includes rent or mortgage and taxes + utilities), a Long Island household would have to have an income of $67,682 a year to be able to afford housing in our region.
• Primary concerns for local residents are the high cost of taxes and affordability of the region.
• Long Island property taxes increased by 64% from 2002-2009.
• Foreclosure filings for Nassau and Suffolk Counties increased by 44% from February to March of 2012.
• Only three out of 100 homes are affordable for young adults.
• According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, when compared to the national average, Long Island’s electricity rates are 45.3% higher, utility piped gas is 12.8% higher, and gasoline is 4% higher.
Fifty-five percent of our guests are the working poor. Despite working as many hours as is humanly possible, they cannot earn enough to pay their housing costs and also put food on the table, or feed their families and also pay their utilities. Even if their household income is slightly above the current poverty level of $23,050 for a family of four, it is still only a small fraction of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Long Island. According to the most recent U.S. Census figures for median income (2006-2010), Nassau County’s median household income is $93,613 and Suffolk County’s is $84,506. Ninety-nine percent of our clients have a per-household income of $24,000 or less (25.6% of AMI or less for Nassau, and 28.4% of AMI or less for Suffolk).
According to the 30% rule, any housing that costs more than $600 per month ($7,200/year) is out of reach for our guests. Utilizing an alternative yardstick, namely, a house should not cost more than 2.5 times one’s annual household income, the people we serve could not afford to buy a home that costs more than $60,000. Who could find such a bargain on Long Island?!
What You Can Do. Make a donation to our emergency food bank.