NLIHC released today its annual report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, which finds a shortage of seven million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renters, those who have incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income. The report calls for significant investments in the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing to expand the supply of affordable homes. It urges Congress to fund capital improvements for the preservation of existing affordable homes, to expand and reform the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to better serve the lowest-income families, to introduce a deeply-targeted renters’ tax credit, and to establish a National Housing Stabilization Fund to provide short-term assistance to households facing eviction or homelessness.
This year’s report finds fewer than four rental homes affordable and available for every 10 extremely low-income renter households nationwide. No state or major metropolitan area has an adequate supply of rental housing for the poorest renters. As a result of this shortage of affordable homes, 71% of extremely low-income renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their limited incomes on housing. They account for nearly 72% of all severely housing cost-burdened renters in the U.S. Extremely low-income households with severe cost burdens struggle to pay for other necessities, like food, transportation, child care, and healthcare.
The severe shortage of affordable and available homes disproportionately affects people of color. African American, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian households are more likely than white households to be extremely low-income renters. Twenty percent of Black households, 17% of Native American or Alaska Native households, 15% of Hispanic households, and 10% of Asian households are extremely low-income renters, compared to 6% of white households. While Black households account for 12% of all households in the U.S., they account for 26% of all extremely low-income renter households.
The shortage of affordable and available homes harms the lowest-income renters in ways that are profound, foreseeable, and avoidable. When housing is unaffordable and unavailable, people are forced to sacrifice essential needs. This severe shortage has been created and perpetuated by our social, political, and economic system; allowing it to persist is an injustice. We have a shared responsibility to address the housing and homelessness crisis with bold solutions.
Full report and interactive map are available at: https://reports.nlihc.org/gap