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New Report Published Today: Shortage of 7 Million Apartments for the Nation’s Lowest-Income Renters

NLIHC released today its annual report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, which finds a shortage of seven million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renters, those with household incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income. The report calls for increasing investments in housing solutions for the lowest-income people such as the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing; protecting the existing supply of affordable homes; expanding and improving the Low Income Housing Tax Credit so it serves more of the lowest-income families; and implementing a renters’ tax credit that targets low-income renters.

Rental Homes Affordable and Available per 100 Extremely Low Income Renter Households by State

This year’s report finds fewer than four rental homes affordable and available for every 10 extremely low-income renter households nationwide. No state or major metropolitan areas has an adequate supply of rental housing for the poorest renters. As a result of this shortage of affordable homes, 71% of extremely low-income renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their limited incomes on housing. They account for nearly 73% of all severely cost-burdened renters in the U.S.

Severely Cost-Burdened Renter Households by Income, 2017

The vast majority of extremely low-income renters are seniors, people with disabilities, or people who are working, enrolled in school, or caring for a young child or for a household member with a disability. Twenty-six percent of extremely low-income renter households are seniors, 22% are a householder with a disability, and 39% are in in the labor force. The wages of those who are working are often too low to afford rent without assistance.

The full report and interactive map are available at:

CityLab published today an op-ed by NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel about the findings in The Gap. The op-ed also included a preview of results from the Opportunity Starts at Home national opinion poll on housing affordability that will be unveiled at NLIHC’s Housing Policy Forum: Seizing the Moment for Bold Solutions on March 28.

“According to the results of a forthcoming public opinion poll we commissioned, the vast majority of Americans (85 percent) believe that ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to live should be a ‘top national priority’.”

Read Diane’s op-ed, “The Affordable Home Crisis Continues, But Bold New Plans May Help,” at: