Housing Gap Widening for Poorest Families

Home| Sitemap | Contact Us

Housing Gap Widening for Poorest Families
By: Matthew Cardinale, The Atlanta Progressive News
23 December 2009
 

NLIHC analysed data from the 2008 American Community Survey. It found that the shortage of homes affordable to ELI families grew from 2.7 million in 2007 to 3.1 million in 2008 - about 400,000 units.

ELI families are defined as those earning less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income.

According to the report, released earlier this month, the number of all renter households in the U.S. increased by 2.4 percent between 2007 and 2008, but the number of ELI renter households increased even more, by 3.5 percent.

"It`s a lot of people going through foreclosures entering the rental market, the result of the current economic situation," explained Megan DeCrappeo, a research analyst for NLIHC. "People are sort of being pushed out of home ownership."

The number of ELI households has increased because people`s incomes are decreasing, DeCrappeo told IPS.

"They`re kind of dropping into a new income group there. People are becoming unemployed because of the current situation, the recession - more and more people are becoming extremely low-income," DeCrappeo said.

"For every 100 extremely low income renter households, there were 39 rental housing units affordable and available for them in 2007. By 2008, the number of affordable and available units had declined to 37," the report said. "A scarcity of housing that the poorest families can afford is the principle cause of homelessness in the United States."

During the same period, the supply of all rental homes increased by 2.2 percent overall. However, the increase in supply was experienced by every income category except the ELI group. For ELI households, the supply of affordable rentals decreased by 1.8 percent.

"In general, we`ve noted this kind of a trend for years. New housing generally is built in other income groups, not for ELI households," DeCrappeo said. "While the demand grows in that sector, the supply doesn`t keep up because it can be expensive to construct and operate housing for ELI households."

"There have been all these foreclosures and increase in vacancy rates, but these [vacant units] are not at levels affordable to people of ELI groups," she added. "They`ve had to take other measures, cut out food or health care costs, doubling up with friends and family, things like that."

DeCrappeo said that some people with higher incomes are also moving into the units affordable to ELI households.

"We`re all kind of competing for low-cost housing," she said.

Asked if landlords raising rents has been part of the problem, DeCrappeo said NLIHC has observed a decrease in rents overall, but not enough to reach the poorest households.

Ironically, even as the number of families needing affordable housing has grown, there is also an increase in vacant housing, including foreclosed homes as well as vacant upscale condominiums and apartments.

So why don`t the owners of the condos just lower their rents? "The reason why so much housing for ELI households needs to be subsidised by the government is it`s difficult to operate the housing [with such small revenues]," DeCrappeo said.

Another factor contributing to the decrease in ELI units is the mass demolition of public housing in cities and counties across the U.S.

"We`ve lost tens of thousands of public housing units over the years and that`s just contributing to the shortage," Linda Couch, deputy direct

Themes
• Access to natural resources
• Access to natural resources
• Access to natural resources
• Accompanying social processes
• Accompanying social processes
• Adverse possession
• Advocacy
• Advocacy
• Advocacy
• Architecture
• Architecture
• Armed / ethnic conflict
• Armed / ethnic conflict
• Basic services
• Basic services
• Basic services
• Children
• Children
• Commodification
• Commodification
• Cultural Heritage
• Cultural Heritage
• Demographic manipulation
• Destruction of habitat
• Destruction of habitat
• Destruction of habitat
• Disability
• Disability
• Disaster mitigation
• Disaster mitigation
• Discrimination
• Discrimination
• Discrimination
• Displaced
• Displaced
• Displaced
• Displacement
• Displacement
• Displacement
• Dispossession
• Dispossession
• Dispossession
• Education
• Education
• Elderly
• Elderly
• Energy
• Energy
• Epidemics, diseases
• Epidemics, diseases
• ESC rights
• ESC rights
• ESC rights
• Extraterritorial obligations
• Extraterritorial obligations
• Fact finding mission/field research
• Farmers/Peasants
• Financialization
• Financialization
• Financialization
• Food (rights, sovereignty, crisis)
• Food (rights, sovereignty, crisis)
• Forced evictions
• Forced evictions
• Forced evictions
• Gentrification
• Gentrification
• Health
• Health
• Historic heritage sites
• Historic heritage sites
• Homeless
• Homeless
• Homeless
• Housing crisis
• Housing rights
• Housing rights
• Housing rights
• Human rights
• Human rights
• Human rights
• Immigrants
• Immigrants
• Indigenous peoples
• Indigenous peoples
• Informal settlements
• Internal migrants
• Internal migrants
• Internal migrants
• Land rights
• Landless
• Legal frameworks
• Legal frameworks
• Legal frameworks
• Livelihoods
• Local Governance
• Local Governance
• Local Governance
• Low income
• Norms and standards
• Norms and standards
• Norms and standards
• Property rights
• Public policies
• Public policies
• Public policies
• Public programs and budgets
• Public programs and budgets
• Public programs and budgets
• Refugees
• Refugees
• Religious
• Religious
• Reparations / restitution of rights
• Research
• Research
• Right to the city
• Right to the city
• Security of tenure
• Security of tenure
• Security of tenure
• Stateless
• Stateless
• Subsidies
• Subsidies
• Temporary shelter
• Temporary shelter
• Tenants
• Tenants
• UN system
• UN system
• UN system
• Unemployed
• Unemployed
• Urban planning
• Urban planning
• Water&sanitation
• Water&sanitation
• Women
• Women
• Youth
• Youth

HLRN Publications

Land Times



All rights reserved to HIC-HLRN -Disclaimer