There is a huge housing crisis going on. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, for every 100 households that are considered extremely low income (if they make less than 30% of an area’s median income), only 35 homes are available. This huge shortage is impacting millions of Americans everyday. Experts have done research to figure out why this housing gap is so apparent.
One component of this housing shortage is due to households that have higher incomes. Households that are above the poverty line are moving into affordable housing and taking away those housing opportunities from families in poverty that need them.

This housing issue isn’t just isolated to a few states. Every state in the country has a housing issue, some more severe than others. However according to NLICH, on average, there are less than 60 affordable housing units available for every 100 extremely low income families. However, unfortunately the average doesn’t hold true for every state. In states like California only 22 affordable units are available for every 100 extremely low income families. This isn’t even the worst of them! The worst is Nevada which only offers a measly 15 units per 100 extremely low income families. The reason that the number varies state to state is dependant on the economy of the state. Many are reeling from the housing crisis with some doing better than others.

The next question is, “Why don’t low income residents work harder?” That’s not the right question. Low income residents are working hard enough, it’s just that jobs don’t pay enough. If you are working 40 hours a week you need a little over $17 an hour in order to live in a small but comfortable apartment. It is even more than that if you have a large family that requires more room. The minimum wage of the country is an average of $7.25 but even if you make significantly more than the minimum like $12-$15 a week, then you still aren’t making enough to live on your own. Even with overtime, it still takes a lot to achieve the dream of a place to live.

This leads to low income Americans becoming cost-burdened. If a resident is spending over 30% of their income on housing they are going to be cost-burdened and have a lot more financial stress. In more severe cases of cost-burdened residents, people are paying more than half of their paycheck on housing. When this happens, people need to cut corners in order to make ends meet. Whether that is skimping on food, not prioritizing healthcare, driving illegally without insurance, or whatever other corner may get cut, people begin to struggle more and more and it becomes a cycle.

A majority of extremely low income americans are either seniors, disabled, or have children. That’s because these people are more vulnerable. Either unable to work, or have more expenses due to health or children. Another component of extremely low income Americans is the fact that the majority are people of color whether African American or Hispanic/Latino. This is due to the racial history behind housing.

These reasons are what keep the housing market with a consistent affordable housing gap. The issues persist because the government is not doing what is necessary in order to amend these problems. The government is chipping away at the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and is decreasing funding. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has decreased by a little over 9%, and there is more legislation promising to cut back funding even more. This leaves the problem to local and state governments to be responsible for funding.

However, filling up the  affordable housing gap will not be easy, especially with the lack of help from the federal government. It is imperative that state and local governments find ways to aid the housing crisis whether through section 8 vouchers, more affordable housing, or other rental assistance programs.

20 Replies to “The Affordable Housing Gap for Low Income Renters”

  1. Hi my name Veronica Bejarano. I'm single mother looking for low income housing authority from Santa Cruz county and also looking for housing authority Santa Clara county California for single family

  2. Hi I am a single mother of 2 boys ages 9 & 3. I am renting an apartment at $450.00 a month. I work at a Marathon gas station making $8.00 an HR! I am needing some assistance on housing. I would like to own my one place & be able to afford to take my kids out to eat @ least once a month or at least take them on at least 1 vacation before they r gown! I am a hard working & don't mind it at all.But not having any help or family that I can count on its hard for us to do anything! Be cause most all my money is spent on renting, electric, & water! Plus gas getting to & from work & getting to & from school & trama therapy for my boys! Be cause we lost their dad back in March of this yr. So being a single mother is hard but I love my babies & want to insure they r taking care of. So if someone could contact me & let me know what kind of help is out there that I can afford. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you

  3. Please help me with houseing .I am on disability and have an autistic son who is disabled.I am homeless but ha e a small I come from Ssi.We are living under a bridge in Indiana ease help us

  4. I am a senior i am looking for a low income place to live i live in eustis lneed my own space need assistance. Please contact me at my email address thank you catherine shavers

  5. Hello I'm single and disabled and I live in a trailer that's 45 years old and when you walk down the hall it feels like it's going to fall through at any time and I only get 790 a month my rent is 450 and I pay water and sewer bill and trash electric and gas so if any body can help I would appreciate it my landlord is a slum lord he won't fix nothing I will be 65 April 24 of this year 2020

  6. I am on Social Security Disability. I live in Kingsport, TN. My rent is 695.00. We are barely making it, always in the negitive in my bank account just paying my rent and utilits.Can't even buy grocerys . In great need!!

  7. I’m 58 years old. I work 40 hours a week. I get $10.00 per hour.
    Not enough money to pay rent and bills.
    I’m divorced and my husband took everything from me. He got over half of my 401k. That was my retirement.

  8. I already live in a community that is approved for HUD. I don't want to move.
    However, my rent has had two increases since I moved in two years ago.I now pay $804.00 monthly. What I need is help thru Section 8 for my rent. My income is $1,200.00 monthly, which is barely enough to live on. Can you help?

  9. I'm 49 years old and I lost my husband in September 2018.Now I'm on my own. I'm in need of affordable housing and I get SSI of only 783 and 750 dollars of that is my rent payment. Food Stamp is only giving 60 dollars per month for food. I desperately need need help. I can't pay my electric and water bills.

  10. I'm 49years old and I lost my husband in September 2018 and now I'm on my own. I need help with affordable housing and I am on SSI and I get 783 per month and 750 dollars is my rent payment per month and Food Stamps is only giving me 60dollars per month. I can't pay my electric and my water bills because housing takes it (except for 33dollars).

  11. I only have a pet as a dependent. Need and my Lucy. I have room and board and I think for all that I do i would probably make more if I were paid for it but it seems that everyone I have used my cleaning skills has token advantage of holding a roof over my head to keep me actively searching for work because the man's dad don't want to pay for his bills any more so I'll be left with no we're to go my poor Lucy my only best friend.

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