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Report: One-quarter of Latinos pay half of salaries on rent

(Photo by Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — Across the nation, 28% of Latino families are spending half of their incomes on rent.

This is according to a new report released by UnidosUS, a Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group.

That was the case for Jiuber Lopez when he lived in north Phoenix.

“I was a dishwasher, so I was only making minimum wage, $10.50,” he said. “I had to save both of my paychecks just to pay the rent.”

The report says these families lack access to education and fear deportation to break from their ruts.

“The owner of those apartments would take advantage of Hispanic people who weren’t U.S. citizens and didn’t know English,” Lopez said. “He wouldn’t fix anything there, and it was just heartbreaking to see my people getting treated like that by my own people.”

But Lopez and his wife, Chantal Moreno, got help to find more affordable rent in west Tempe. Then they had money for other things.

“My son got to go to therapy because he had speech disabilities and learning disabilities,” Moreno said.

Moreno eventually wants to buy a home, which she says will give her family more stability.

But even with a record low 4.2% unemployment rate for Latinos, UnidosUS still seems people struggling.

“We still are seeing people working two or three jobs just to make ends meet,” Jennifer Brown, associate director of economic policy at UnidosUS, said.

In her report, Brown also says they cannot save for a home.

“Housing has gotten expensive, while wages have not kept up with the cost of living,” she said. “It’s a 1-2 punch for most people.”

Brown recommends building more housing trust funds — public or private — to incentivize developers to build more affordable housing.

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