ICYMI: Huffington Post: The U.S. Has A Dire Shortage Of Affordable Homes, And Trump Wants To Make It Worse
March 15, 2019
The National Low Income Housing Coalition released a report on Thursday detailing the nationwide affordable housing shortage crisis. States in the West are particularly affected by this shortage, with Arizona having an average of 25 affordable units per 100 low-income renters. Sadly, the Trump administration has no plans to address this problem. Read below:
Huffington Post: The U.S. Has A Dire Shortage Of Affordable Homes, And Trump Wants To Make It Worse
By Laura Paddison
America’s affordable-housing crisis shows no signs of going away anytime soon, and it’s having the starkest effects on people with the lowest incomes, according to a new report.
There is a staggering shortfall of 7 million available and affordable rental homes for extremely low-income renters, according to “The Gap,” a report published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition on Thursday. To put it another way, for every 100 of the lowest-earning renter households in the country — those at or below the federal poverty line or 30 percent or less of the median income in their area — there are only 37 available and affordable rental units.
The crisis is urgent, says the report, which calls for a large injection of funds into federal housing programs designed to help the poorest renters. Its publication coincides with the release of President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request, which proposes sweeping cuts to affordable housing programs and would undermine the already inadequate support systems in place for low-income renters.
“The report shows us this year, as it has for many years, that the housing crisis remains at historic heights,” said Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the NLIHC, “that it’s having the most harm on those on the lowest income — seniors, people with disabilities, working parents and others.”
Of the 11 million renters in the U.S. defined as extremely low income, nearly half are elderly or disabled, 39 percent are working, and 3 percent are in school. The lowest-income renters are disproportionately people of color: 38 percent of Native American households, 35 percent of black households and 28 percent of Hispanic households have extremely low incomes.
The dire lack of affordable rental homes means people are forced into homes they cannot afford. More than 70 percent (7.8 million) of the lowest-income renters are classified as severely cost-burdened, meaning they spend over half their income on rent and utilities.
Solving the affordable housing crisis is simple, said Yentel, even if it won’t be easy to execute. “We have the research. We have the solutions. … The only thing we actually lack is the political will to fund those solutions at the scale necessary,” she said.
“We need leadership,” Williams said, “from the federal government, in particular from HUD [the Department of Housing and Urban Development]. … We should have a leader that is a proactive champion of affordable housing.”
But this political will is extremely unlikely to arrive under the current administration. The White House’s 2020 budget request, released on Monday, included deep cuts for affordable housing programs. HUD would see its budget cut by 16.4 percent.
While that budget has zero chance of getting through Congress, it should not be ignored, said Yentel. “The budget proposal is the best opportunity an administration has to lay out its values and its priorities, and clearly this administration does not prioritize affordable housing,” she said.