Demolishing Affordable Housing Devastates Poor

Households Face Severe Lack of Affordable Housing

Demolishing Affordable Housing Devastates PoorA January 13, 2014 Bloomberg news piece, “Demolitions Dire for Poor Amid Affordable-Rent Gap: Economy,” gives personal stories and key data that highlight the disturbing effect of the demolition of affordable housing.

“Hector Pineda spends 60 percent of his income renting a $1,500-a-month apartment for his family in Alexandria, Virginia. With housing around him slated to be torn down and replaced by pricier units, the 33-year-old cook worries his rent will go up or his building too will be demolished.”

The gap between incomes and rent in the country continues to grow.

“It’s an ongoing problem that is made more important against the backdrop of increasing demand for those units,” said Chris Herbert, research director at the Harvard Joint Center. “At a time when we have a growing number of low-income renters struggling to find units they can afford, the fact that these low-cost units are the ones most likely to be lost from the stock is a concern.”

Even with replacement units promised, the loss of 800 affordable apartment will most likely mean that those low-income households will have to move. The new “affordable” apartments will probably be out of reach for him and his neighbors.

“The private market doesn’t build housing that low-income people can afford anymore. If there were a market answer to this problem, there would be massive investment going on, because the demand is extreme.”

Said Sheila Crowley, chief executive officer of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program helps create and protect affordable housing but it is not enough.

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