Opinion: When the average rent is higher than the average monthly retirement payment, seniors are in trouble
Rent is painful for everyone right now, but seniors are especially in crisis with fixed retirement incomes
The housing market is making most metropolitan cities unaffordable even for those who are not considered low-income.
While young and middle-aged adults have the opportunity to work more and earn more to stay in their housing, this is not reality for seniors.
The average Social Security retirement payment was $1,567.49 per month in Utah for the year 2020. According to rentcafe.com, the average rent in Salt Lake City was $1,651 for an 834-square-foot apartment. Now we must consider Medicare payments and copays and the cost of nutritious food. We can see that budgets are spread incredibly thin for this vulnerable population.
There are affordable housing units specific for those 55 years old and above, but those applications warn that the waiting list can take several months or several years. Not to mention the number of applications received per affordable housing unit. We owe it to this population to have programs in place to intervene before they are at risk of entering shelter then playing the waiting game for these affordable units.
While these existing housing programs are appreciated, there is a greater need for more affordable units and not luxury apartments.