Nationwide, rents are skyrocketing. Many people are struggling to pay their rent. According to a research from Apartment List, an apartment listing service, as of June, U.S. rentals have risen 14.1% above where they had been a year earlier. While this is a startling increase, it is a decrease from the sky-high pace of 17.8% in the beginning of 2022.
Rent increases have affected people with disabilities in particular. According to a 2015 NPR report, people with disabilities are twice as likely as nondisabled people to live in poverty. The maximum benefit someone can receive from Supplemental Security Income is $841 a month.
Margaret Davis has been unsuccessful in locating an affordable apartment. The federal government pays around $750 each month to the 55-year-old. She is attempting to live on $50 in cash and $150 in SNAP benefits each month in order to save for a place to live.
Davis is homeless despite receiving SSI benefits. Davis says she receives approximately $600 each month from the program. However, according to Zumper, which has been tracking rental prices since 2014, the average apartment in Charlotte, NC where Davis lives, now rents for $1,500 per month – over 70% more than it did nearly a decade ago.
Like Davis, I also receive SSI. I have received SSI for the past six years. When I started looking for apartments in 2019, I had difficulty finding one I could afford on $871 a month. After more than a year, I was fortunate enough to find an apartment that I could afford. Still, without my best friend’s help, I wouldn’t be able to afford to live in my apartment.
Nobody should be forced to live in poverty. Many disabled Americans like Davis are also staying in homeless shelters. Disability benefits must provide a livable income for those who need them in America. We must work together to ensure that no Americans with disabilities are homeless.
Clasen-Kelly, Fred. “High Rents Outpace Federal Disability Payments, Leaving Many Homeless.” NPR, NPR, 15 Sept. 2022, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/09/15/1121848289/social-security-disability-inflation-poverty.
Fessler, Pam. “Why Disability and Poverty Still Go Hand in Hand 25 Years After Landmark Law.” NPR, NPR, 23 July 2015, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/07/23/424990474/why-disability-and-poverty-still-go-hand-in-hand-25-years-after-landmark-law.
Zahn, Max. “Skyrocketing Rents Pain Tenants as Inflation Rises.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 29 July 2022, https://abcnews.go.com/Business/skyrocketing-rents-pain-tenants-inflation-rises/story?id=87239462.