NLIHC Releases Report: AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING STILL ELUSIVE FOR LOWEST INCOME AMERICANS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

August 25, 2014

CONTACT:  Christine Campbell, ccampbell@nlihc.org 347-866-2320

 

REPORT: AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING STILL ELUSIVE FOR LOWEST INCOME AMERICANS

There are more renters today than in previous decades, but there are not enough units renting at affordable prices to meet the needs of the lowest income households. According to Housing Spotlight: The Affordable Rental Housing Gap Persists, released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), there is a deficit of 7.1 million rental units affordable and available to extremely low income households, those with income at or below 30% of area median income. Nationwide, there are only 31 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low income renters. Extremely low income renters make up 25% of the total renter population, but just 7% of all rental units were affordable and available to this population. This report is based on 2012 data, the latest available.

 For the first time, this edition of Housing Spotlight also highlights how it is nearly impossible for renters with income at or below 15% of area median income to find housing that they can afford. These renters are considered deeply low income by NLIHC. They are most often elderly or disabled households living on fixed incomes, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There were 4 million of these renter households in 2012, but just 16 affordable and available units for every 100 of them, and 90% spent more than half of their income on housing costs.  

Along with these and other national statistics, the report provides data by state, and for the first time this year, by metropolitan area, to provide more clarity on where housing need is greatest. The states where extremely low income renters were least likely to find housing affordable and available to them were Nevada, with just 15 units of available and affordable housing per 100 renters, followed by Arizona and California (20), Florida and Oregon (21), and Texas (26). The states with the most rental units affordable and available to extremely low income households were South Dakota (54) and North Dakota (52). In every state, at least half of all extremely low income renters spent more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs.

 Because affordable rental units within a state are often located in parts of the state that are far away from jobs, transit, and other services, NLIHC also looked at the shortage of units for the 50 metropolitan areas with the largest renter populations, and found the situation grim for the lowest income renter households. The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metro area in Nevada had the greatest need, with just 12 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low income renter households. No metro area had more than 44 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low income renter households.

 It has always been difficult for lower income households to find affordable units, and today it is harder than ever because renting has become an increasingly common choice among higher income households since the housing crisis. The number of renters with income greater than 120% of area median income increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2012, transforming the rental market by putting upward pressure on rents.

“The housing crisis pushed higher wage earners into the rental market causing rent increases and a surge in the development of luxury apartments, making it nearly impossible for extremely low income households to find housing that is truly affordable to them,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The way to close the gap in rental housing affordable and available to all segments of the extremely low income population,” she continued, “is to fully fund the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF).” The NHTF is a program signed into law in 2008 to distribute dedicated sources of revenue to states to preserve and expand the supply of rental housing targeted to extremely low income households.

The report is available at http://nlihc.org/article/housing-spotlight-volume-4-issue-1

More information about the NHTF is available at http://nlihc.org/issues/nhtf

Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Are you a Member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) advocates for a wide range of housing policy issues. Legislatively, NLIHC is working to influence Congress and the Administration on the following issues:

  • Permanently protecting tenants at foreclosure;
  • Expanding housing funding in the federal budget and seeking a permanent end to sequestration;
  • Achieving housing finance reform that includes funding for the National Housing Trust Fund;
  • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing; and
  • Assuring tenants’ interests are reflected in any changes to HUD and RD programs.

Beyond our legislative work, NLIHC is producing high quality research and advocacy publications, all of which are available at reduced or no cost to members. These include:

Be a part of these important efforts and strengthen your advocacy by joining NLIHC. You can join as an organization or as an individual. Please note that dues amounts are suggested. We want everyone to join no matter how little or much you can afford.

Our success is built on the support of advocates like yourself.

http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/pictures/Join_NLIHC_button.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Congress at Home, Advocates Should Urge Action in Fall

 

Will you be meeting with you representatives this month while they are in district?  Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are on recess during the month of August, resuming legislative business on Monday, September 8. While they are in their home districts and with most House Members and 27 Senators seeking reelection in November, housing and homeless advocates should take the opportunity to remind them of the work they have left to do before the end of the 113th Congress.

A top “must pass” item is the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (PTFA). The current PTF law expires at the end of 2014. Unless it is made permanent or extended by December 31, many tenants whose landlords or property owners lose their properties to foreclosure will no longer have federal protections against imminent eviction. The laws governing tenant rights will revert to the array of state laws on the status of tenants at foreclosure, most of which still offer less protection than the federal law. S. 1761 and H.R. 3543 are the two Permanently Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure bills that need a vehicle for enactment this year.

Congress also must complete its FY15 HUD and USDA Rural Housing Appropriations bills. The Senate and the House will delay finalizing these bills until after the November election, but all Members need to hear that you expect funding at the levels in the bills that have cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee.

While no further action is likely on either housing finance reform or tax reform, advocates should stress that when Congress does act on these issues in the 114th Congress that robust funding for the National Housing Trust Fund must be included.

For more information on these issues and more, go to http://nlihc.org/issues.

Leave a comment

Filed under advocate spotlight

United for Homes in the News

“I always like it when people and groups think big.”

That’s what Mark Fogarty, editor-at-large of National Mortgage News, wrote yesterday in his column about the United for Homes proposal to fund the National Housing Trust Fund through mortgage interest deduction reform.

natlmortgagenews_7-8-14

Read & Share the column featuring NLIHC President Sheila Crowley

We ask supporters of the United for Homes campaign to work with their local media to secure more coverage. Pitching a story to the media can seem daunting, but our growing national campaign is unique, interesting, and attention-grabbing.

Why is this story relevant?
The mortgage interest deduction has been viewed as a sacred cow, but as Washington moves toward comprehensive tax reform, this expensive tax expenditure will be part of the debate. United for Homes would not eliminate a mortgage interest tax benefit. Rather, we are proposing fair and innovative tax reform which taps into the public’s growing interest in addressing wealth inequality.

Why is this different than other pitches?
Because we are offering a solution. The media hears a lot about negative impacts, but our proposal offers a refreshing and rare viewpoint. We can improve the mortgage interest tax benefit to help more homeowners, while also solving our nation’s affordable housing crisis. Being part of a movement for positive change is appealing to everyone – including reporters.

Who cares?
Lucky for us, America does! The United for Homes proposal would help end homelessness, and that is something that resonates with everyday readers and policymakers.

You can make a difference by:

  • Pitching the newsworthy story to local reporters who cover housing or tax policy;
  • Submitting a letter to the editor in response to related news (“Great piece, but the article overlooked an important solution that exists…); and/or
  • Writing an op-ed from your compelling human-interest angle. Why did YOU endorse the United for Homes campaign?

And we’re here to help! Contact Sarah Brundage at sarah@nlihc.org or call 202-662-1530 x246 to get started.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Interning at NLIHC

Interning at NLIHC is a rewarding experience for students and recent graduates. NLIHC brings on policy, research, field, communications, and operations interns throughout the year. One perk of interning at NLIHC is the opportunity to attend events on the Hill. This Wednesday, our summer interns attended a Congressional Homelessness Caucus Briefing on Violence Against the Homeless, where they snagged a picture with Special Guest Susan Sarandon.

Left to right: Research Intern Shaina Castonguay; Policy Intern Francine Glaser; Susan Sarandon; Operations Intern Aliza Cohen; Field Intern Pilar Alatorre.

Left to right: Research Intern Shaina Castonguay; Policy Intern Francine Glaser; Susan Sarandon; Operations Intern Aliza Cohen; Field Intern Pilar Alatorre.

Stay tuned for blog posts from our current interns and more about the internship opportunities at NLIHC!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

NLIHC Field Team: What We Do

The NLIHC Field Team interacts with members of the Coalition and the general public (collectively known as “the field”). Broadly speaking, the Field Team works with the field to weigh in on housing policy issues. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Field Team collaborates extensively with both the Policy and Communications Teams at NLIHC.

As a coalition that represents the housing interests of the lowest income Americans, NLIHC’s greatest strength is our network. We work with people across the country to leverage our collective power as citizens. The more people who are involved in advocating, the greater influence we have in shaping housing policy to benefit the lowest income Americans.

One of the most important ways we engage people in housing advocacy work is through membership. The Field Team communicates directly with all of our members on a regular basis. When it’s time to mobilize the field, our members are some of the most active and well-informed housing advocates in the country.

Our members represent a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations, which ensures that all stakeholders are represented in our advocacy. Low income renters comprise a significant portion of our individual membership. Our organizational members include: direct service organizations, tenant groups, advocacy organizations, low income housing developers, government agencies, and small businesses. Chief among our members are our State Partners, who serve as the main point of contact for advocacy in their given states.

Through their membership dues, our members are also an essential part of how we maintain a high degree of financial independence. It is this independence that has allowed us to maintain an unwavering focus on the housing needs of the lowest income Americans for 40 years. Because of our members’ central importance to this mission, the Field Team takes great care to meet our members’ needs.

Ultimately, the Field Team has a broad range of responsibilities, from taking care of membership logistics to communicating with and mobilizing our field on critical housing issues. To learn more about the Field Team, you can contact the Housing Advocacy Organizer for your state.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Membership Monday: Meet Our Field Team

NLIHC has a Field Team with different Housing Advocacy Organizers assigned to specific states. The Housing Advocacy Organizers are our members’ direct points of contact for answers to federal policy or membership questions. Members also hear from the Field Team when there is a federal housing issue that needs attention. Reach out to your state’s Field Team member to learn more about joining NLIHC, or if you are an active member, about how you can get more involved!

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, or Virginia, contact…

Dan Emmanuel | dan@nlihc.org or 202-662-1530 x316
Dan Emmanuel joined the NLIHC staff in November 2013. Dan completed his Master of Social Work degree from Saint Louis University in May 2013 with a concentration in community and organization practice. Since 2008, he has worked in a wide range of housing and community development contexts, including work at Saint Louis University’s Doerr Center for Social Justice and Community Housing Partners in Williamsburg, Virginia. Dan earned his B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from the College of William & Mary.

If you live in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, or West Virginia, contact…

Mary Kolar | mary@nlihc.org or 202-662-1530 x233
Mary joined the NLIHC staff in January 2011. Originally from the Washington, DC area, she graduated from Fordham University, after which she spent time with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Following this experience, she worked for several years as an organizer for the New York City-based Tenants & Neighbors, an NLIHC partner. There, she focused on tenant issues in project-based Section 8 developments. Most recently, Mary worked with a grassroots community-based organization in Arlington, Virginia.

If you live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, or Wyoming, contact…

Joseph Lindstrom | joseph@nlihc.org or 202-662-1530 x222
Joseph joined the NLIHC staff in February 2013, but he first worked with NLIHC in 2000 while organizing Wisconsin advocates in support of the National Housing Trust Fund campaign. He led campaigns in Madison, WI, on issues such as the local minimum wage, funding for homeless services, and eliminating housing discrimination against Housing Choice Voucher recipients. In addition to his advocacy and campaign work, Joseph has also worked in various direct service capacities including as a homeless outreach coordinator, tenant’s rights counselor, and workforce development professional. Joseph received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin with majors in political science and religious studies.

Check back on Wednesday for a post by the Field Team!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized