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Swiss housing crisis squeezing those on low incomes

Summary:
Switzerland’s housing crisis is pushing low income earners into poverty, warned Caritas this week. Geneva © Boris Breytman | Dreamstime.comAccording to the charity, high rents are pushing some low income earners into poverty. An acute shortage of housing is pushing rents beyond the level that some people can afford, forcing them to cut back on spending in other areas, said the charity. Some are spending around a third of their income on rent and utilities, roughly double the average proportion of income spent on these things. In Geneva, where the home vacancy rate is 0.42%, 8,000 people were on a waiting list for affordable housing in 2022 – 8,000 represents close to 2% of the population. Those on waiting lists wait around two years for a place. A spokesperson for Caritas told

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Switzerland’s housing crisis is pushing low income earners into poverty, warned Caritas this week.

Swiss housing crisis squeezing those on low incomes
Geneva © Boris Breytman | Dreamstime.com

According to the charity, high rents are pushing some low income earners into poverty. An acute shortage of housing is pushing rents beyond the level that some people can afford, forcing them to cut back on spending in other areas, said the charity. Some are spending around a third of their income on rent and utilities, roughly double the average proportion of income spent on these things.

In Geneva, where the home vacancy rate is 0.42%, 8,000 people were on a waiting list for affordable housing in 2022 – 8,000 represents close to 2% of the population.

Those on waiting lists wait around two years for a place. A spokesperson for Caritas told RTS that a lot can happen in two years. The wait can impact quality of life and disrupt lives, affecting family life and health.

High rents are partly driven by a shortage of housing. The number of new building permits and the amount of construction have both fallen across Switzerland. In many cantons the home vacancy rate is below 1%. In addition, demand remains high. This is creating an ever larger gap between existing rents and market rents, which dissuades people from downsizing.

Another challenge is finding affordable accommodation, especially when living on welfare.

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