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NATION’S RENTERS FACE SEVERE AFFORDABLE RENTAL SHORTAGE

In 2010, there were 9.8 million extremely low income renter households in the United States, and only 3 million rental homes affordable and available to these households. This shortage of 6.8 million rental units means that only 30 rental homes are affordable and available for every 100 extremely low income renters.

These are among the findings of an analysis released today by a national housing research and advocacy group. Housing Spotlight: The Shrinking Supply of Affordable Housing was produced by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and compares the number of low income, very low income, and extremely low income renter households in each state with the number of rental homes that renters below each income threshold can afford. The analysis also takes into account availability; that is, whether a rental unit is occupied by a higher income household.

“There are millions of families in the United States whose incomes are so low and whose housing costs are so high that all it would take is a few days out of work with a sick child or one high heating bill to push them into homelessness,” said Sheila Crowley  President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “This is the forgotten housing crisis, overshadowed by the emphasis on foreclosed upon or underwater homeowners.”  

No state in the nation has an adequate supply of affordable, available rental housing. Nevada, the state with the fewest affordable and available rental homes, has only 17 such homes available for every 100 extremely low income renter households. Wyoming, the state with the most rental units affordable and available to extremely low income renters, still only has 55 rental homes for every 100 extremely low income households. Thirteen states have less than the national level of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income people: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Housing advocates say that affordable, decent housing is key not just to ending homelessness, but to improving educational, healthcare and other outcomes. “Studies have shown time and again that stable, affordable housing is a deciding factor in maternal and child health, and in whether children will succeed in school. Allowing this shortage to continue will hamper all our other efforts to improve public health and strengthen our educational system,” said Ms. Crowley.

President Obama’s FY13 budget request, released Monday, includes a proposal to fund the National Housing Trust Fund, which advocates say will directly address the affordable housing shortage. The National Housing Trust Fund was signed into law in 2008 and will, once funded, provide communities with the funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for those households impacted by the affordable housing shortage.

“If Congress acts on the President’s request for $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund, it will be a down payment on the promise of a decent home for every American,” said Ms. Crowley.

The full report is available on the National Low Income Housing Coalition website at http://nlihc.org/doc/HousingSpotlight2-1.pdf.

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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 incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

National Low Income Housing Coalition
727 15th Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005
202/662-1530; Fax 202/393-1973; info@nlihc.orgwww.nlihc.org

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