More than half of Baltimore’s renters live in housing they cannot afford; 57% pay more than 30% of their income for housing and, staggeringly, 33% pay more than half.
In Baltimore, female-headed households with kids suffer under the largest housing burdens — 65 percent live in housing they cannot afford and 45 percent pay more than half their income to housing. These statistics are particularly troubling given that families with children generally must spend more on basic necessities and thus experience the effects of a housing-cost burden more severely.
And it’s getting worse.
Rising rents and stagnant incomes have forced more and more families to spend more of their budget on housing, increasing financial insecurity and the risk of eviction or foreclosure. Burdens of this magnitude force families to cut down on other necessary expenses, and can have negative effects on child outcomes and quality of life.
Families with children have significant basic necessity spending beyond housing:
$60/month average- diapers for 1st year of life
$135/month average- formula for 1st year of life
As these families are struggling to make ends meet while demanding safe housing- many renters end up in rent court. Most rent court defendants are Black Women, living on $2,000 or less per month, without public housing assistance.
Like many of our clients, in order to lower housing costs Baltimore’s families end up living in poorly maintained units.
The impact of poor quality housing on health is lengthy but includes:
Chronic health problems like asthma and hypertension.
Increased Emergency Department use
Accidents due to poor safety in the home
Acute health emergencies such as hypothermia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation due to homes having insufficient heating or cooling abilities.
Read Crystal’s story about living in a rental unit in the winter WITHOUT a working furnace
Our CAN has been hard at work for the past year working to educate each other about the intersection of health and housing. We are now getting closer to finalizing recommendations form our year of hard work! Thank you to Syndiqua Gilyard, Recommendation Chair and the CAN Recommendation Committee- Melissa Little, Pamela L. Diggs, Fahd Randhawa, Tiera Owens and Felina Johsnon!
Special thanks to Carol Payne and Ken Strong who provided subject matter expert feedback during the review!
During our second Health and Housing Symposium, Matt Hill, Staff Attorney from the Public Justice Center provided an important overview of the 20/20 Vision and landlord licensing. Sandra Adigun facilitated small groups Gender and Role Responsive Messaging Problem Tree exercise and Joy Twesigye facilitated small groups regarding landlord licensing recommendations. Click here for information from the day!
Our Baby Shower was a success. Families played traditional baby shower games, got safe sleep information and a safe sleep demonstration exercise. Each family received a gift (baby tub filled with supplies) and several raffle winners won additional gifts.
(Case Manager, Pamika Lee spearheaded the planning and created the gift tubs; NHA Lillian Armstrong led the decoration committee)
The CAN meeting provided an opportunity for deeper learning about
1) Interaction Between Housing and Health
2) Shifting Landscape of Affordable Housing in Baltimore
3) Potential Policy Solutions for Baltimore
Panelists: Mr. Dan Ellis, Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore, Ms. Detria Adams, Baltimore City Resident and Healthy Start Parent and Mr. Harry Spikes, Deputy District Director, Office of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.
Tonight was the last night for our current Breastfeeding Group. They ended with a celebration!! Moms took turns giving one another well wishes on their Breastfeeding journeys during the crowning ceremony, along with receiving certificates and gifts to assist them with Breastfeeding.