Housing is a basic human need and constitutes the largest portion of an average family’s budget. In the inner city, residents often spend a higher percentage of their income on housing than is true in the suburbs. In Trenton, about a third of residents pay as much as 40% of their income on housing costs.
Trenton, one of the most distressed cities in the country, exists within Mercer County, which is one of the wealthiest in New Jersey. Thirty percent of Trenton’s housing is in substandard condition and nearly 25% of its residents earn less than $10,890, the federal poverty level for a single individual. With rising utility bills, housing costs are increasingly straining budgets, particularly for working and lower-income families. More than 30% of Trenton’s families are struggling to keep their homes, and thousands more are becoming homeless each year.