North Carolina housing advocates now have access to an updated mapping tool that shows that energy costs are a crucial piece of the housing affordability puzzle. Staff at the North Carolina Housing Coalition, an NLIHC state partner, worked with students in the North Carolina State University Geospatial Information Science and Technology Program to update the Coalition’s housing affordability mapping tool to include households’ average energy costs and energy burdens by county. The tool already included information about housing cost burdens as well as a housing insecurity matrix.
There is no widely accepted threshold that establishes energy cost burdens. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, however, classifies an energy burden of above 6% as “unaffordable.” The housing affordability map shows that the most significant energy burdens fall on rural counties in Eastern North Carolina.
While in no North Carolina county do average energy costs among all households (renters and homeowners) exceed 8% of households’ budgets, there are 27 counties where renters are paying on average more than 8% of their household budgets on energy costs. The most severe in the state is Hyde County, where extremely low-income renters pay an average of $3,258 a year in energy costs, or 42% of their household budgets. Explore the statistics here.
Energy efficiency can bring much-needed relief to low-income households who experience a disproportionately high energy burden. Bringing low-income housing to the efficiency level of the average U.S. home would eliminate 35% of the energy burden for low-income households.
The energy burden borne by renters across the state has led the North Carolina Housing Coalition to become a state partner of Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), a campaign dedicated to linking the energy and housing sectors together to tap into the benefits of energy efficiency for millions of low-income families. In 2019, EEFA will focus on advocating for resources to make North Carolina’s multi-family housing stock more energy efficient.
"Mapping North Carolina's housing needs has been an incredibly valuable tool in communicating more effectively with elected officials as they make decisions about where to target limited state and local resources,” said North Carolina Housing Coalition Executive Director Samuel Gunter.
Explore the mapping tool at: https://bit.ly/2FoTlvx
For more information, contact Samuel Gunter at: 919-827-4496 or firstname.lastname@example.org