The Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force released the ninth edition of the biennial Priced Out report. Priced Out in 2014 examines the gap between the income of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and the cost of rental housing, showing the severity of the affordable housing crisis experienced by low income people with disabilities. SSI payments are the sole source of income for 4.9 million non-elderly people (age 18-65) with disabilities who have limited assets and are unable to work. Without an ongoing rental subsidy, SSI recipients often face the burden of unaffordable housing and are at risk of homelessness.
The report highlights the gap between the rent an individual can afford whose only income is SSI and the cost of a modest one-bedroom or studio apartment based on Fair Market Rents.
In 2014, the average annual income of a single individual whose only income is from SSI was $8,995, equal to only 20.1% of the national median income for a one-person household and about 23% below the 2014 federal poverty line. However, the average rent in 2014 was $780 for a one-bedroom unit and $674 for a studio unit. In 17 states and the District of Columbia, the average one-bedroom rent exceeded the monthly SSI payment. In 162 housing markets across 33 states, one-bedroom rents exceeded 100% of the monthly SSI payment. The standard SSI payment for an individual in 2014 was $721 per month. Rents in 15 of these areas exceeded 150% of SSI. Even in the 21 states that administer discretionary SSI supplemental payments, recipients are still unable to afford rent.
As a result of this shortage of conventional housing, plus an insufficient number of permanent supportive housing units, many non-elderly persons with disabilities find themselves choosing between homelessness and living in public institutions, nursing homes, or overcrowded and substandard housing. According to the report, when rental subsidies are provided to enable community-based living, the cost is one-third of the cost of the least-expensive state hospital bed. An investment in permanent supportive housing affordable to SSI recipients is a cost-effective strategy for states and the federal government.
TAC and CCD urge HUD and Congress to support the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) program, which provides rental assistance to state housing agencies, allowing tenants with disabilities to pay no more than 30% of their income for housing costs. In addition, the authors urge restoring funds for the Housing Choice Voucher Program to pre-sequestration levels. The authors also support funding the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), which can provide capital subsidies for the development of rental housing to compliment rent subsidies available through Section 811 PRA.
Priced Out 2014, is at http://www.tacinc.org/knowledge-resources/priced-out-findings