Over the last 30 years, the debt burden of US households has been increasing. As wages have stagnated, and the cost of living has increased, more and more people are borrowing simply to make ends meet, or are falling behind on bills.
American families with low to moderate incomes are severely burdened by multiple forms of debt, from mortgages, credit cards, and student loans, to arrears on all kinds of obligations such as rent, utilities, taxes, legal financial obligations, municipal fines and fees, child support and bank fees.
The New Haven Debt Map is a locally-rooted, policy and action oriented community based project that seeks to understand the debt experiences of low-to-moderate income people living in New Haven. Our goal is to inform advocacy for policy reform that will lead to a reduced debt burden for this population. The project focuses on debts that can be addressed through local municipal or state level policy reform, as well as contributing to national level reform of debt policies.
The New Haven Debt Map project is based at the Program for Recovery and Community Health in the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. We are grateful to the Johns Hopkins University 21st Century Cities Initiative for providing seed funding for the project.