WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), finds a shortage of 7.2 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. The report calls for expanding investments in affordable housing programs that serve those with the lowest incomes.
The study finds there are just 35 affordable and available units for every 100 ELI renter households nationwide and that 71% of ELI renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. After paying their rent, these households have insufficient resources left for other necessities like food, medicine, transportation, or child care. They are often one financial setback away from eviction and homelessness.
NLIHC conducts this research each year to assess the availability of housing affordable to renters at different income levels throughout the country. “This year’s analysis includes a look at who are the lowest income renters,” said Andrew Aurand, vice president for research at NLIHC and lead author of the report. “We tend to hear misinformed stereotypes about poor individuals when in fact the vast majority of the poorest renter households are seniors, people with disabilities, or individuals who are working, enrolled in school, or caring for a young child or for someone with a disability. The wages of those who are working are too low to afford rent without assistance.”
The Gap, based on American Community Survey data, presents the availability of affordable homes for renter households in each state, the District of Columbia, and the 50 largest metropolitan areas. The lowest income renter households face a shortage of affordable and available rental homes in every state. The supply ranges from 15 affordable and available homes for every 100 ELI renter households in Nevada to 59 for every 100 ELI renter households in Maine. For the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S, the supply ranges from 10 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI renter households in Las Vegas, NV, to 47 in Providence, RI.
“The lack of access to an affordable home has devastating long-term impacts on the lowest income families,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC. “Affordable homes provide vulnerable families with the stability they need to thrive, to improve their health, education, and economic outcomes. Housing instability increases the likelihood of job loss, eviction, and homelessness, negatively affecting a family’s physical and mental well-being throughout their lives.”
Congress must increase investments in affordable housing solutions like the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing and expand and improve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit so that it provides more housing affordable to extremely low income renters.
The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes is available at: http://nlihc.org/gap
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.