Massive Shortage of Affordable and Available Housing for America’s Lowest Income Households

NLIHC released its new report, The GAP: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, on March 2. The report finds a shortage of 7.4 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low income (ELI) renter households, those whose income is less than either the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI), whichever is higher. Seventy-one percent of ELI renter households are severely-cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. The report calls for rebalancing federal housing expenditures to serve households with the most critical housing needs.

ELI households face the largest shortage of affordable and available rental housing and most severe housing cost burdens of any income group. Thirty-five affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 ELI renter households. As a result, 8.1 million ELI renter households are severely cost-burdened. They account for 73% of all severely cost-burdened renter households in the US. By comparison, 2.2 million very low income renters (with incomes between 31% and 50% of AMI), 700,000 low income renter households (incomes between 51% and 80% of AMI), and 100,000 middle income renter households (incomes between 81% of AMI and median income) are severely cost-burdened.

ELI 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 61 in Alabama. After Nevada, the states where ELI renters face the greatest challenges finding affordable homes are California (21/100), Arizona (26/100), Oregon (26/100), Colorado (27/100), and Florida (27/100). The affordable housing shortage for ELI households ranges from 8,700 rental homes in Wyoming to 1.1 million in California.

To close this gap, NLIHC calls for greater federal resources for deeply targeted housing programs and rental assistance. The NLIHC-led United for Homes (UFH) campaign proposes modest mortgage interest deduction (MID) reforms that would generate $241 billion in new revenue over ten years to invest in affordable housing programs like the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), vouchers, and other subsidy programs that serve ELI households. UFH proposes reducing the amount of a mortgage eligible for a tax break from $1 million to $500,000 and converting the deduction to a non-refundable tax credit. The reduction to $500,000 would impact fewer than 6% of all mortgage holders nationwide, while the conversion to a credit would result in a tax cut for nearly 25 million lower income homeowners.

More details about the United for Homes campaign are available at:

The GAP: A Shortage of Affordable Homes is available at