Almost a quarter of the nation’s renter households—10.3 million—have incomes at or below 30% of the area median income and are considered extremely low income (ELI). And according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), there are only 3.2 million units affordable and available to them.
In fact, the report, Housing Spotlight: Affordable Housing is Nowhere to be Found for Millions, which is based on 2013 American Community Survey data, shows that no state has more than 56 units of affordable and available rental housing for every 100 ELI households. The NLIHC also looked at the Top 50 metro areas with the largest rental populations and found that none of the metros have more than 47 affordable and available units for every 100 ELI households.
The NLIHC doesn’t expect these figures to improve in the near future because the majority of new multifamily construction is targeted toward middle- or higher-income households, the nation’s vacancy rates are at historic lows, and public and assisted housing units continue to be lost due to demolition or conversion to market-rate projects.
“This country has been neglecting the needs of ELI households for far too long, and as a result we need more than 7 million affordable units to meet the current demand,” said Sheila Crowley, president and CEO of the NLIHC, in a statement. Crowley applauded the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s decision to set aside funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, which will help. But she added that the first year of revenue will be small so it’s critical that a larger commitment is made to help solve the problem.
Where do ELI renter households have the hardest time finding affordable and available units? Nevada tops the list of states, with only 15 units affordable and available per 100 ELI households. Rounding out the Top 5 states with the fewest units are California (21), Arizona (22), Oregon (22), and Florida (23).
The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev., metro area tops the metro list, with only 10 units affordable and available per 100 ELI renter households. However, Southern California has three metro areas among the Top 5 with the highest need for affordable and available units: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (12), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (17), San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. (17), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. (18).
The most affordable and available rental housing can be found in South Dakota and Wyoming, where 56 and 55 units, respectively, are available per 100 ELI renter households. The metro areas with the most units are Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H., with 47 units and Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind., with 46 units.