Housing, News

New report: U.S. affordable rental housing stock is “deeply inadequate”

It comes as no surprise to anyone who’s tried (or has a loved one who’s tried) to rent an apartment in recent years, but a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition makes clear once again that the U.S. has a dire shortage of affordable rental housing. This is from the introduction to the Coalition’s new report: “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes”:


Each year, NLIHC examines the American Community Survey (ACS) to determine the availability of rental homes affordable to extremely low-income households – those with incomes at or below the poverty line or 30% of the area median income (AMI), whichever is greater – and other income groups (Definitions). This annual report provides information on affordable housing for the U.S., each state plus the District of Columbia (DC), and the largest metropolitan areas. This year’s key findings include:

  • 10.9 million renter households with extremely low incomes account for 25% of all renter households and 8% of all U.S. households.
  • Extremely low-income renters in the U.S. face a shortage of 7 million affordable and available rental homes. Only 36 affordable and available homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.
  • Seventy-one percent (7.7 million) of the nation’s 10.9 million extremely low-income renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on rent and utilities. They account for almost 72% of all severely cost-burdened renters in the U.S.
  • Extremely low-income renters are much more likely to be severely housing cost-burdened than other income groups. Thirty-three percent of very low-income, eight percent of low-income, and two percent of middle-income renters are severely cost-burdened.
  • Extremely low-income renters are more likely than other renters to be seniors or people with disabilities. Forty-six percent of extremely low-income renter households are seniors or disabled, and another 44% are in the labor force, in school, or single-adult caregivers.
  • People of color are more likely than white people to be extremely low-income renters. Twenty percent of Black households, 17% of American Indian or Alaska Native households, 15% of Hispanic households, and 10% of Asian households are extremely low-income renters.Only 6% of white non-Hispanic households are extremely low-income renters.
  • Black households account for 12% of all households in the United States and 19% of all renters, but they account for 26% of all renter households with extremely low incomes. Likewise, Hispanic households account for 12% of all households, 19% of all renter households, and 21% of all renter households with extremely low incomes.
  • No state has an adequate supply of affordable and available homes for extremely low-income renters. The current relative supply ranges from 18 affordable and available homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Nevada to 62 in West Virginia.
  • The shortage of affordable homes ranges from 8,200 in Wyoming to nearly one million in California.

The report calls for significant new investments in public programs, including the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing to expand the supply of affordable homes. It urges Congress to fund capital improvements for the preservation of existing affordable homes, to expand and reform the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to better serve the lowest-income families, to introduce a deeply-targeted renters’ tax credit, and to establish a National Housing Stabilization Fund to provide short-term assistance to households facing eviction or homelessness.

Click here to explore the full report and here for a series of useful infographics.

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