NLIHC released its annual report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes in Spanish (La Brecha: La Escacez de Viviendas Asequibles). The report finds that extremely low-income renters in the U.S. face a shortage of 7 million affordable and available rental homes. Only 36 affordable and available homes existed for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in 2018. The report also examines in the racial inequities of the nation’s housing shortage and the connection between housing affordability and social justice.
La Brecha examines the availability of rental homes affordable to extremely low-income households—households with incomes at or below the poverty line or 30% of the area median income, whichever is greater—and other income groups. The report found that of the 10.9 million renter households with extremely low incomes, 71%— or 7.7 million households—are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on rent and utilities. No state has an adequate supply of affordable and available homes for extremely low-income renters. La Brecha illustrates that the shortage of affordable homes for households with higher incomes is driven by the shortage for the lowest-income renters, who are forced to rent apartments they cannot afford, making those apartments unavailable to other income groups.
People of color are more likely than whites to be extremely low-income renters. Twenty percent of Black households, 17% of American Indian or Alaska Native households, 15% of Hispanic households, and 10% of Asian households are extremely low-income renters. By comparison, 6% of white non-Hispanic households are extremely low-income renters. While Black households account for 12% of all households in the United States, they for 26% of all extremely low-income renter households. Hispanic households also comprise 12% of the U.S. population but 21% of all extremely low-income renters. These patterns reflect longstanding inequalities of opportunity and the continuing impacts of historical and ongoing discrimination.
La Brecha explores the connection between housing affordability and social justice. Research shows that stable, decent, accessible housing is essential for individual and social well-being, but this well-being is denied to people who cannot afford their housing, unnecessarily imposing suffering on millions. Such imposed suffering is a fundamental injustice we as a nation have a collective moral responsibility to address. La Brecha describes steps that could remedy the injustice: greater investments in the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, public housing, and a national housing stabilization fund to prevent evictions.
La Brecha: La Escacez de Viviendas Asequibles can be found at: https://bit.ly/2WQ0ihY
The Gap report and interactive website can be accessed at: https://nlihc.org/gap