New Research From UNH, Zillow Highlights the Connection Between Rent Affordability and Homelessness

Dec 14, 2018

A new study from the University of New Hampshire and the real estate website Zillow shows the impact rental housing affordability has on a community's rate of homelessness.

Researchers found that once residents are paying more than 32 percent of local median income to rent, the expected homelessness rate goes up sharply.  

UNH assistant professor of decision sciences Chris Glynn says this is most extreme in places like Los Angeles, where rents are nearly half of the median income and the homelessness crisis is clear.

But he says the 32 percent threshold also holds true in cities like Manchester.

"The homelessness rate is Manchester is four times higher than the homelessness in the rest of the state,” Glynn says. “And that's in part because the cost of housing is almost 34 percent of income."

He says the findings in Manchester contrast with Nashua and the rest of Hillsborough County, where the estimated homelessness rate is one fourth the rate Manchester and rental costs are 26 percent of median income.