Giving Compass' Take:

• Fast Company explains that although an individual may be employed, that does not mean they can sustainably and comfortably afford housing or the resources they need to live.

• Should employers provide more resources for their employees to find affordable housing? What can be done in general to address this growing crisis and eliminate the pathways to poverty?  

Read more about the need for affordable housing


Every morning, Alex Day wakes up early in her home in Antioch, California, and readies herself for her two-hour commute to her job as a business analyst a downtown San Francisco-based startup that facilitates peer-to-peer lending. She’s worked there for just over two years. When she began as a payment solutions supervisor, she was making around $68,000 a year. She had been living in a five-bedroom home in Antioch with her husband, her two sons from a previous marriage, and two stepdaughters, but when she got divorced and moved out, she needed to find a place to live that she could afford on her own. It was a struggle. She eventually found a two-bedroom apartment for $1,700 a month, but her two sons (age 12 and 14) had to move in with their father in New Orleans, where there was more space and family support.

Though Day, 36 (who requested that her name be changed for privacy), is now making just under $90,000 after a promotion, she’s in a bind. Her lease is coming up, and her landlord wants her to renew at over $2,000 a month. “If I’m going to pay that much, I’d rather move in closer,” she says. An active volunteer with a number of nonprofits based in Oakland, she’d like to move there, which would put her closer to her network of friends and her job. But even with her recent promotion, rents in Oakland, which average $3,416 for a two-bedroom, are out of reach. So now, she’s in talks with her company about another possibility: Staying in her current role, but moving back to Las Vegas, where she’s from and where her family still lives. There, she could rent a two-bedroom, two-bath luxury apartment for around $1,300 (she checks the listings constantly). Perhaps then, with her family around, she could see her sons more, and live in a place where she doesn’t feel so disconnected from her life outside of her job.

Day’s circumstances sum up a pernicious feature of employment in the U.S.: Having a job does not guarantee that you will be able to have a life, or a stable, affordable place to live. This is a departure from the era after World War II, when people (mostly men) returning from the war were entitled to housing loans and free college tuition that both alleviated the pressures of debt and helped them establish a vehicle for which to build wealth: owning an appreciating home.

Read the full article about affordable housing and salaries by Eillie Anzilotti at Fast Company.