U.S. Has Gap of Over 7.2 Million Affordable Rental Homes

Article originally posted on Multifamily Executive on May 9, 2018

The nation has a staggering shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income (ELI) renter households, reports MFE sister brand Affordable Housing Finance. Deputy editor Donna Kimura examines a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, which finds that for every 100 of the lowest-income renters, or those earning 30% of their area median income, there are just 35 homes affordable and available to them.

“This leaves over 8 million of the lowest-income people [spending] more than half of their limited income on rent each month, leaving very little for healthy food, for savings, or to cover an unexpected financial emergency,” says Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “The report highlights the urgent need for an increased national investment in more homes affordable to the lowest-income people.”

Yental also noted that federal housing programs serve about 5 million low-income households, but the needs of many more families go unmet. Only one out of every four eligible families receives the help they need. As a result of the housing shortage, low-income unassisted households are often severely cost burdened and pay more than half of their limited income on rent.

The severe shortage of rental homes affordable and available to the lowest-income households predates the Great Recession but has worsened in recent years, according to the study. In 2007, 40 affordable and available rental homes existed for every 100 ELI renter households and 67 existed for every 100 renter households with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income (AMI). A small surplus of affordable and available rental homes existed at 80% and 100% of the AMI in 2007. Since then, the supply of affordable and available rental homes (relative to demand) has declined even at these higher-income levels. Renter households at 100% of the AMI, however, still enjoy a surplus nationally and in most markets.

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