GOP Tax Bill Threatens Housing Assistance, Just as Many Workers Struggle to Pay Rent

One Third of Future New Jobs Will be Low Wage Jobs and Need Housing Assistance

On December 15, 2017, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities‘ Alicia Mazzara, a Research Analyst, reports “GOP Tax Bill Threatens Housing Assistance, Just as Many Workers Struggle to Pay Rent.” The tax cut bill was approved by Congress last week.

Mazzara references the new Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) new report which finds that almost a third of new jobs that will be created within the next ten years will be low-wage jobs. Households earning low-wages struggle with earnings that don’t match high rents.

“The pending Republican tax bill threatens to deeply undermine programs that help low-income Americans keep a roof over their heads,” writes Mazzara.

“Renter income is already failing to keep up with rising housing costs, Census data show. Even as incomes have grown and poverty has fallen over the last two years – signs of unprecedented progress over a two-year period – most renters’ inflation-adjusted incomes haven’t recovered from the 2001 recession.

The gap between median renter income and median rent shrank between 2015 and 2016, largely thanks to strong income growth. However, housing costs, including rent and utilities, have risen sharply in recent years and continued growing in 2016. Since 2001, the rise in median rent has outpaced the change in median renter income by 12 percentage points.”

The Republican tax bill poses threats to the ability to create affordable housing to meet the growing needs of low-income households.

“Federal rental assistance is among the programs at risk of deep cuts. Such assistance is critical to low-income renters, but 3 out of 4 needy renters don’t receive it due to limited funding. And as we wrote recently, the President and Congress must significantly increase funding for Housing Choice Vouchers in 2018 to prevent cuts in the number of families assisted. Policymakers should protect existing aid and expand targeted assistance for homeless veterans, families with children that are involved with child welfare agencies, and other groups.”

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