Publicly Assisted Housing Provides Economic Benefits to Recipients and Their Communities

The Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) released its annual report, How Sustainable Communities Create Resilient People, on June 2. The report highlights the importance of affordable housing to economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Publicly supported housing aids nearly 13 million people – including 5.6 million children, 2.6 million people with disabilities, 2.5 million seniors, and more than 400,000 veterans. Affordable housing investments help families achieve economic security and housing stability and help communities realize cost savings and economic growth. 

Publicly assisted housing enables low income households to improve their financial security and housing stability as the result of lower rents. Four out of ten unassisted low income families have no savings account; rent-assisted households, however, have average savings of $1,000. Savings of as little as $250 can help a family avoid eviction if their income is disrupted. Avoiding eviction helps low income families avoid moving costs, which can range from $1,170 for intrastate moves to $5,630 for interstate moves, and the emotional and psychological stress of housing instability. Fifty-one percent of unassisted very low income families moved between 2013 and 2015, while only 36% of very low-income families with housing assistance moved.

Publicly assisted housing can also benefit local economies. Because assisted low income households spend less of their limited income on rent, they can increase their spending on other goods and services. If publicly assisted housing were available for all currently unassisted eligible households, communities would gain $48 billion in consumer spending and personal savings. Capital investments in affordable housing can also increase economic sustainability. Completing repairs on public housing would generate $80 billion of local spending.

More information from How Sustainable Communities Create Resilient People is available at: