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February 27, 2013: NHLP Welcomes Report Stressing Crisis in Affordable Rental Housing

According to the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) new report, "Housing America's Future: New Directions for National Policy," low-income households make up a half to two-thirds of all renter households, with two-thirds of renter households reporting incomes below 80 percent of Area Median and nearly half reporting incomes below 50 percent of Area Median. Over a quarter of renters report a "severe rent burden," spending more than half their income on housing. The severe rent burden for extremely low-income renters is even higher at 64 percent.

The report identifies the major reason low-income renters face such high cost burdens is that the supply of affordable units is significantly lower than the number needed. In 2009, only 3.7 million rental housing units were affordable and available to extremely low-income households, whereas extremely low-income renter households numbered 10.3 million.

BPC's recommendations focus on meeting rental housing needs of the lowest-income households by providing "high-quality stable" housing for the most vulnerable families. Other recommendations include:

  • Modifying tax incentives to increase support for affordable rental housing;
  • Devoting revenue from homeownership tax subsidies to expanding rental housing programs for low-income populations;
  • Targeting assistance to the lowest-income families;
  • Expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and providing gap financing to support the expansion; and
  • Addressing the capital backlog in public housing.
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