Study: Northern Va. families face most severe housing burden in the nation


Courtesy: Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

NORTHERN VA (WDVM) — Compared to other large metro areas, Northern Virginia has the highest rate of so-called “severe housing burden” among families of four earning about $50,000 a year.

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia estimates a family of four needs an annual income of $94,000 to live comfortably in the region.

The Community Foundation found families eat less, struggle to find childcare and delay medical care to pay the mortgage or rent. Some families face those choices for a lifetime and they may be easy to forget — in 2019, only 11 percent of households spent over half their income on housing.

Northern Virginia can support its families in need by providing emergency and basic assistance, transportation, childcare, rental assistance and legal protections.

Those are only short-term strategies, though — the Community Foundation also suggests expanding affordable housing options and “promoting economic opportunity for low-income, working adults.”

In the midst of a pandemic, more people may be facing severe housing burdens than ever. The occupations that are burdened at the highest rates are teachers, construction workers, retail salespersons, drivers, and restaurant staff. Communities of color are also more burdened than white communities.

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