As Housing Costs Rise, Women Face Increased Barriers to Obtaining Home Ownership

As Housing Costs Rise, Women Face Increased Barriers to Obtaining Home Ownership

Recent information from the Pew Charitable Trusts confirm what we are hearing from the nonprofit sector: the high cost of home rental leaves most families out of homeownership.

After the 2007-09 recession more households are termed “rent burdened” spending more than 30% of their pre-tax income on housing. In fact, Census Bureau data shares that more US households are headed by renters than at any point since 1965.  Two-thirds of households headed by young adults are rentals.

There are several reasons for this: Increased rental costs prevent families from saving; demand for rental housing (due to the mortgage loan defaults of 2007-09) has caused rent prices to rise, all placing even more stress on working and single parent families.

In Des Moines, a single mother with 2 children would need to earn at least $22.87 per hour to cover basic family expenses. We can see the challenges facing low-income workers, particularly single mothers who reside with their children.

The movement toward renting has also occurred across all levels of educational attainment. From 2006 to 2016, rental rates increased among households headed by someone with less than a high school degree, as well as among those headed by a college graduate.

Even so, college graduates are the least likely group to be renters. In 2016, 29% of college-educated household heads were renters, compared with 38% of household heads with a high school degree only or some college experience and 52% of household heads who did not finish high school.

Our work to move women to economic empowerment has always focused on education (Chrysalis After-School and scholarship programs) and independence. Many of our grant partners bring women the skills and training to attain higher level wages and jobs with futures.

We can see that for many working women and families, there is still a challenge to “get by.”  Add this problem to the wage gap, and you can understand how the work of Chrysalis must include public education and advocacy: helping our community know why our work is so important, and how they might apply this knowledge to their own positions and circumstances.

How can one person help? Mentor a girl, support women’s professional development and pay equity in the workplace, talk to corporate and community partners about their input in issues about workplace/affordable childcare, transportation that is located where people need and use it: there are countless ways to help.

Supporting Chrysalis might be the best return on our investment! Thank you for helping us share our work and ask for support.  We cannot do this work without you.