Rising Columbus Rental Prices Leaves Few Options For Low-income Households

Mar 22, 2016

Across the U.S. the cost of rent has risen as more people prefer renting over homeownership. The rental market in Columbus has continued to grow, but higher prices have left fewer options for the city’s most vulnerable residents.

According to new research by the Urban Institute, Franklin County has only 24 affordable housing units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households--families of four that make less than $20,000 a year. Research Associate Reed Jordan says there are about 59,000 people in Franklin County and only 14,000 available rental units that they can afford. This leaves many households susceptible to eviction and with less money for things like food, healthcare and education.

“Families cannot access opportunity, cannot access economic mobility unless they have a stable foundation and that stable foundation comes from housing,” said Jordan.

The housing affordability gap for extremely low-income renters in 2013
Credit Urban Institute

In their research, the Urban Institute examined cities across the US and found that the shortage of affordable rental units is widespread.

“Nationally, we have an affordable housing crisis and that means a lot of renter households are paying too much on rent,” said Jordan.

As the rental market in many cities has grown more expensive, low-income households are being strained financially. Federal rental assistance programs have failed to narrow that gap.