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New Report: Sustained Public Investment Needed to Ensure Lowest-Income People Have Access to Decent, Accessible, Affordable Homes

NLIHC releases “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes,” finds only 36 affordable  homes are available for every 100 extremely low-income renter households

Washington, DC - The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), finds a national shortage of seven million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income (ELI) renter households, those with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income.

Every year, NLIHC analyzes the supply of rental homes affordable and available to different income groups in the U.S., in every state, and the fifty largest metro areas. This year as in years past, we find a severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to the lowest-income families and individuals. There are just 36 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI renter households nationwide. Seventy-one percent of the lowest-income renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for other necessities and at a high risk of eviction and homelessness. No state has an adequate number of affordable homes for its lowest-income renters. The shortage ranges from 18 affordable and available homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Nevada to 62/100 in West Virginia.

There are clear racial disparities in who bears the brunt of the shortage of affordable rental homes. Black households account for 12% of all households in the U.S., but they account for 19% of all renter households and 26% of all renter households with extremely low incomes. Hispanic households account for 12% of all households, 19% of all renter households, and 21% of all renter households with extremely low incomes. Renters of color are far more likely than white renters to have extremely low incomes: 20% of Black households, 17% of American Indian and Alaska Native households, and 15% of Hispanic households are extremely low-income renters, while just 6% percent of white non-Hispanic households are extremely low-income renters.

Among the solutions to the severe shortage of affordable homes identified in the report is a significant investment in the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), an annual block grant to states for the creation, preservation, or rehabilitation of rental housing for the lowest-income renters. A growing number of members of Congress and virtually all of the Democratic presidential candidates have called for dramatically expanding the HTF. Other solutions include an increased and sustained commitment to proven affordable housing solutions such as Housing Choice Vouchers, Project-Based Rental Assistance, and public housing. NLIHC also calls on Congress to expand and reform the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to serve more ELI households; implement a fully refundable renters’ tax credit; and create a National Housing Stabilization Fund to provide emergency assistance to low-income households facing housing instability and eviction when experiencing an economic set-back. Only through sustained federal investment in such solutions can we correct for the ongoing failures of the private market and achieve housing justice. 

“Our home impacts every aspect of our life – when we are affordably housed, we are healthier, our children do better in school, we earn more over our lifetimes, we even live longer.  Affordable and accessible housing is a fundamental need, but far too many of the lowest income renters in our country struggle to pay the rent,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “The housing crisis does the greatest harm to people of color. Black and Latino families are more likely than white people to be severely rent-burdened and to experience evictions and homelessness, the result of centuries of structural racism that systematically and purposefully excluded people of color from equal access to housing, community supports, and opportunities for economic mobility. The findings of this report make clear: housing justice and racial justice are inextricably linked.”

The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes is available at:   


About NLIHC: Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.