Nearly 500,000 federally assisted apartments or rental homes will reach the end of their current subsidy contracts and affordability restrictions in the next five years, according to new data released in the National Housing Preservation Database (NHPD).

Diane Yentel
Diane Yentel

Nearly one in four of these units are funded by low-income housing tax credits. Previous experience suggests that as many as 8% (or 39,066) of these units could be permanently lost from the publicly assisted and affordable housing stock because their current owners could opt for the private market, report housing leaders.

“We cannot afford to lose any of the federally assisted housing stock,” says Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). “The rental housing crisis is hitting the lowest-income renters particularly hard, while federal resources for new subsidized housing is insufficient. Maintaining our current stock is critical.”

Failing to preserve our nation’s publicly assisted affordable housing stock will further hurt the nation’s lowest-income families at a time of unprecedented need, according to officials.

NLIHC and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corp. (PAHRC) collaborated to produce the preservation database with support from HAI Group in 2011.

NLIHC leaders note that the nation already has a shortage of 7.4 million homes for extremely low-income renters. Failing to preserve the publicly assisted affordable housing stock will also cost more money in the long run. PAHRC adds that the cost to rebuild and maintain these lost homes would be $6.4 billion over 50 years compared with $4.8 billion to preserve and maintain the existing homes for 50 years.

Since its inception, the database has provided more than 5,000 housing advocates, community leaders, affordable housing developers, researchers, and others access to an inventory of federally assisted housing across the United States that integrates information from multiple federal databases to help users identify affordable housing at risk of being lost from the subsidized housing stock.

The NHPD allows users to estimate the size of the affordable housing stock in local areas, identify properties at risk of leaving the publicly assisted housing stock, and develop preservation strategies.