Housing Needs Growing Faster Than Assistance

U.S. Saw 24% Increase in Low Income Renters with Housing Needs 2005 -2015

A report by G. Thomas Kinsley from the Urban Institute, Trends in Housing Problems and Federal Housing Assistance, finds that the population of low income renters with housing needs grew by 24% between 2005 and 2015.

The report also finds that at the same time, the number of households receiving assistance from one of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Developments (HUD)’s deep subsidy programs (public housing, privately-owned subsidized housing, and housing vouchers) increased by only 7%. The percentage of low income renters who received HUD assistance declined from 18% to 16%.

The report provides a basic overview and history of:

  1. HUD-assisted public housing,
  2. privately-owned subsidized housing,
  3. Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs), and
  4. the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) program.

The report cautions that the future of housing assistance does not look any brighter.

  • Between 1993 and 2016, the affordable housing stock lost 120,000 public housing units and 350,000 privately-owned subsidized housing units.
  • The number of vouchers increased by 1.1 million, while the Housing Credit program added more than 2.1 million units.
  • Extremely low income households, whose household incomes are no more than the poverty level or 30% of the area median income, often need additional assistance like a voucher to afford a Housing Credit unit.
  • The report also found that households receiving HUD assistance are more likely today to be elderly and disabled households than households with families with children.

“Given forces at play, the housing assistance gap will likely worsen. Nothing in the conditions determining housing market behavior indicates that rents will decline. And this is a time of budget stringency. Current budget proposals suggest that, at best, the level of federal deep- subsidy housing assistance provided will remain about level in the face of rapidly expanding need. Although the LIHTC enjoys considerable political support, it does not proportionally reduce the housing assistance gap as defined here, and its size is threatened by proposed reductions in corporate tax rates, which would reduce its attractiveness to investors.”

New Jersey’s advocates should use the findings in this report to continue to remind their elected officials that there is a critical need to protect current HUD funding levels and expand programs that are working to prevent and end homelessness across the country.

Trends in Housing Problems and Federal Housing Assistance

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