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Newark Has Housing Affordability Gap, Study Shows

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There’s a big gap between the rents in Newark and what people can afford.

A study by Rutgers University shows that Newark renters have a median income of about $30,000 a year, meaning an affordable rent would be about $760 a month. But the actual median rent is about $1100.

Law professor David Troutt said the real estate industry can’t be left to its own devices here. “There was a time when the federal government was far more directly involved in building affordable housing,” he said, “and we really have to return to that because this report could be done for many, many, many cities in this country.”

Troutt said the study showed Newark has 40,000 low-income households and only about 20,000 low-rent units.

“The whole notion that the private market should be primarily responsible for building housing affordable to working class people has been demonstrated by this report and others to be a failed policy,” he said.

Troutt said when people can’t afford their own apartments they live with others --a big problem when there’s a pandemic because of a highly contagious, deadly virus. “When you throw in a shelter-in-place order and remote schooling for the past year of this pandemic,” he said, “then you realize how these deficits come back to bite us in lethal ways.”

Troutt also said there is a serious shortage of larger apartments, which leads to even more overcrowding and these days, more Covid infection.