Report: Rental Housing Affordability Crisis Worst for Lowest-Income Families

By Alicia Mazzara:For More Info, Go Here…

Despite a strong economy, the number of renter households paying too much for housing — more than 30 percent of their income, the federal government’s threshold for unaffordability — rose to nearly 11 million in 2018, a new study from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies finds.

Renters with the lowest incomes are the likeliest to be stretched the thinnest, often making tradeoffs between buying food and health care or forgoing heat or air conditioning to cover their rent, the report finds. As a growing number of people experience high housing cost burdens, housing instability, and homelessness, the researchers conclude that, “only the federal government has the scope and resources to provide housing assistance at a scale appropriate to need across the country.”

Renters in every state and in metropolitan and rural areas alike are paying very high shares of their income for housing, and, as this affordability crisis deepens, it’s affecting more moderate-income households. But as the chart below shows, the lowest-income households are far likelier to pay a disproportionate share of their monthly budgets on rent and utilities than those at modestly higher income levels.

Eighty-five percent of renter households with incomes of less than $15,000 a year paid over 30 percent of their income for housing, compared to a third of those with annual incomes between $45,000 and $75,000 and just 7 percent of those with incomes above $75,000.

Renters with the lowest incomes were also more likely to face extreme housing cost burdens. The great majority — 75 percent — of renter households earning less than $15,000 annually paid over half their income for housing.

Leave a Reply