Picture Mixed on Rural Veterans’ Housing
[imgbelt img=Vet_population_2011.jpg]Although rural veterans, like their counterparts in metro communities, are likely to own their own houses, a third of younger veterans are burdened by the high cost of housing. Rural veterans who rent are also more likely to be burdened by housing costs. One issue may be a lack of affordable rental housing in rural areas.
Veterans often face unique and diverse housing issues. Housing affordability, accessibility, homelessness and aging in place are all concerns of this particular population. These issues can be further compounded in rural and small town areas. Vast geographies, limited resources and overextended social service infrastructure can make it more difficult for veterans to gain access to needed services and amenities.
Most veterans own their homes. Approximately 79.8% of veterans nationally are homeowners. In rural areas, the veteran homeownership rate is even higher at 83.3%. Rural veterans are more likely to own their homes outright than veterans nationally, at 51.4% compared to 42.7%. Although these relatively high homeownership rates are partially attributed to the older average age of veterans, it may also indicate a lack of affordable rental housing in many rural communities.
Housing affordability has become the nation’s biggest housing problem and many veterans find housing unaffordable. Households who spend over 30% on their income on housing costs are considered cost-burdened. Similar to national characteristics, younger veterans are more likely to be cost-burdened than their older counterparts. Approximately 34% of rural veterans in their 20s, and 25% of veterans in their 30s have affordability problems compared to 20.3% of their counterparts aged 55 and over.