This year more than 10 million Americans are having to choose between paying rent and buying food

[Peter Chivy, US News Contributor]

Huffpost Business: In 2011, its rent or food for more than 10 million American households, or one out of four of them renting their homes.

The number of American households, according to a Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report out this week, spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent and bills, has gone up by 2.6 million in the past 10 years. Generally “affordable” rent amounts to around 30% of a tenant’s income.

Eric Belsky, director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies says that when basic living costs get to certain critical levels, increasing number of Americans are having to choose between paying their rent and starving, or buying food and having nowhere to live: “In real terms, it means more people have less money to spend on household necessities such as food, health care, or savings …in the last decade, rental housing affordability problems went through the roof….and these affordability problems are marching up the income scale” .

As the US economy recovers, rents are likely to increase and this will continue to put pressure upon not only working class, but middle class families with many already spending around 50% of their income on rent only already.

So far the US government has announced no contingency plan for this problem.

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