Federal Housing Spending is Poorly Matched to Need

Federal Housing Spending Helps Well-Off Homeowners but Leaves Struggling Low-Income Renters Without Help

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has updated its chartbook showing the mismatch between the nation’s housing needs and the allocation of federal housing.

As the chartbook explains, the federal government spent $190 billion in 2015 to help Americans buy or rent homes, but little of that spending went to the families who struggle the most to afford housing.

Federal housing expenditures are unbalanced in two respects: they target a disproportionate share of subsidies on higher-income households and they favor home-ownership over renting.

  • Lower-income renters are far likelier than homeowners or higher-income renters to pay very high shares of their income for housing.
  • Low-income renters are also far likelier to experience problems such as homelessness, housing instability, and overcrowding.
  • Federal rental assistance is highly effective at helping these vulnerable families.
  • But rental assistance programs are deeply underfunded and as a result only reach a fraction of eligible households.

The Chartbook expands on the following issues:

  • Federal Housing Spending Disproportionately Targets Higher-Income Households
  • Federal Housing Policy Favors Owning over Renting
  • Housing Needs Among Renters Are Growing
  • Poor Renters Have Greatest Need for Housing Assistance
  • Federal Rental Assistance Helps the Lowest-Income People Afford Housing, but Funding Limitations Keep It from Reaching Most Families in Need

Under President Trump’s proposed budget, this mismatch will only increase.  Trump’s Budget Request Slashes Critical Affordable Homes Resources  with a HUD budget cut of 14% or $ 6 billion – without considering inflationary adjustments.

The impact on NJ, based on an analysis by the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), will be drastic including the loss of six thousand one-hundred and forty -eight (6,148) of rental vouchers, the loss of almost $106 million dollars in Home and CDBG funding as well as the accelerated deterioration of public housing for almost 38,000 residents due to the lass of $69.5 million in public housing funding.

This year, more than ever, the Congressional Reception is critical. As advocates, we have our work cut out for us in the coming years.

This budget has been revealed at a time when New Jersey is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. New Jersey has a shortage of at least 212,237 affordable and available homes for the lowest income people in this country. 

Just one in four low income people in New Jersey in need of assistance, including seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and veterans, get the help they need. New Jersey’s affordable housing crisis makes these suggested cuts both unconscionable and unacceptable.

CBPP Chartbook

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