Extremely low-income renter households in the United States continue to face severe housing burdens. A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) details just how massive the shortage of affordable and available housing is for these households who have incomes at or below 30% of the area median income (AMI).
With 11.4 million extremely low-income renter households accounting for over a quarter of all U.S. renter households, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes report finds there is a shortage of 7.4 million affordable and available rental homes for these residents. This means there are only 35 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.
All states and major metropolitan areas have shortages of affordable and available rental housing. At the top of the list for states are Nevada, where only 15 affordable homes are available for every 100 extremely low-income renter households; California, where there are 21 homes for every 100 households; and Arizona and Oregon, where there are 26 homes for every 100 households.
Extremely low-income renters face the most difficulties in Las Vegas, where there are only 12 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households; Los Angeles, with 16 homes for every 100 households; and Houston and Orlando, Fla., with 18 homes for every 100 households.
The report also finds that 71% of extremely low-income renter households—8.1 million—are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing and lacking the resources for other basic needs.
“This year’s analysis continues to show that the poorest households in our nation face the largest shortage of affordable and available rental housing and have more severe housing cost burdens than any other group,” said Andrew Aurand, vice president for research at NLIHC and lead author of the report.
The annual report is based on the 2015 American Community Survey data. This year, the analysis is slightly different from past years because the NLIHC adopted the federal government’s new statutory definition for extremely low income, which are households with incomes less than 30% of their AMI or the poverty guideline, whichever is higher.
To address the shortage, the NLIHC report calls for rebalancing federal housing expenditures to serve the neediest households. One recommendation from the NLIHC-led United for Homes is to make changes to the mortgage interest deduction during tax reform to benefit additional lower-income homeowners and invest the savings in housing programs that serve those who need it most, such as the National Housing Trust Fund and other rental assistance.
NLIHC also supports efforts to expand and reform the low-income housing tax credit program. Additional essential tools to serve these extremely low-income renter households include vouchers and funding to preserve the existing federally assisted housing stock.