Should I buy or should I rent? And should the feds help?

·By Chad Blair

Hawaii is the least affordable state in the nation for renters, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported April 21. But a New York Times analysis published the same day said that in cities like Honolulu it makes more financial sense to rent a home rather than buy one.

The Times ranked Honolulu second on a list of metro areas having a high rent ratio, which is the cost of buying a house divided by the annual rent of a comparable property. That comes as some comfort to a guy like me shelling out big bucks to live in a Manoa studio.

At least I have a clean place to sleep at night. Researching homelessness in Hawaii for Honolulu Civil Beat — check it out here — I learned that lack of affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness. “Duh,” you say. “Try paying the rent if you’ve lost your job,” I counter.

Chew on this: An April 19 piece in the Times looks at the Obama administration’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program, part of that $787 billion stimulus package passed in 2009. It’s unclear, the Times reports, how social service agencies should distribute the money, and to whom — the guy that’s living on the street, or the guy who was just laid off from his $75,000 job and stands a better chance of finding new work?

About the Author

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Chad Blair

Chad Blair is a reporter for Civil Beat. You can reach him by email at cblair@civilbeat.com or follow him on Twitter at @chadblairCB.
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