The report tracks the nation’s progress towards the goal of cutting poverty in half over ten years. According to the report, the national poverty rate in 2012 was 15%, statistically unchanged from 2011, and 2.5% higher than in 2007, the pre-recession period. Median household income has also remained essentially stagnant.
Forty-seven million people live below the federal poverty line of $18,287 per year for a family of three, and 44% of them live in deep poverty with incomes of less than $9,143 per year for a family of three.
According to a survey of the homeless population in January 2012, 239,403 people in low-income families were living in shelters or places such as streets and campgrounds, up 1.4% since January 2011. Many more homeless families with children are living in doubled-up households. Among 1,065,794 homeless children and youth enrolled in the 2010-11 school year, three in four live in doubled-up housing situations.
With a large number of families facing poverty, the demand for affordable housing remains high. The report uses NLIHC research to show that only 57% of affordable rental units on the market were available to very low-income renters in 2011. With so few affordable units available, about 11 million renters are severely cost burdened, spending over half of their income on housing costs.
The authors of Half in Ten advocate for greater investment in public housing, rental assistance vouchers, and the Community Development Block Grant. The report also urges Congress to increase the affordable housing supply by funding the National Housing Trust Fund.