New Jersey Homeless Families Get No Relief in Recent HUD Bill

Almost 65,000 Households at Risk

Voucher Funding Cuts Could Make Low-Income NJ Families HomelessRental assistance provides an important stepping stone that helps working families, people with disabilities, seniors, and veterans to keep a roof over their heads and make ends meet.

About 5 million households nationally use rental assistance to afford safe, stable housing.

There are currently 64,596 households in New Jersey using rental vouchers.

But from 2010 to 2014, New Jersey lost 1,900 vouchers due to sequestration. Nearly 90% of these households are seniors, people with disabilities, or families with children. Without rental assistance these households would have to make tough choices between paying for housing and putting food on the table or paying for life-saving medication.

Years of rising rents and falling incomes have left more and more New Jerseyans unable to afford safe, stable housing without cutting back on other basic needs such as food and healthcare.

The number of low-income renter households who pay more than half their income toward rent has increased by 24% since 2007, to about 10 million households.

In New Jersey, 134,993 low-income households with children pay 50% or more of their income towards rent. Paying too much for rent puts households at risk for homelessness. On one night in January 2014, 13,900 people in New Jersey on the streets or were living in homeless shelters.

Cuts to rental assistance have prevented thousands of low-income Americans from receiving the assistance they need to escape homelessness and housing instability, which have been linked to developmental, health, and education problems in children. Without these needed resources, it is more difficult for communities to reduce homelessness among vulnerable populations, like families with children.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has released two new housing fact sheets with updated data on federal rental assistance by state. The first covers all federal rental assistance programs; the other covers Housing Choice Vouchers.

The House has passed their THUD funding bill out of subcommittee, with a Full Committee markup May 13, 2015. The Senate will likely release their bill late May or early June. These fact sheets help make the argument that:

  • Vouchers, and HUD funding more generally, are very important, and should be funded at the highest possible level in these initial THUD bills and
  • If Congress is unable to adequately fund HUD programs under the current budget caps, Congress should lift these caps in order to restore the vouchers lost to sequestration, and make more progress on ending homelessness.

Click here for the rental assistance fact sheet.

Click here for the housing fact sheet.

Click here for the “Off the Charts” blog post, “A State-by-State Look at Federal Rental Assistance.”