By CEO/Executive Director Laura Gray
I read a lot of studies that tell us there isn’t enough affordable rental housing in the U.S. One such report from The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard - The State of the Nation’s Housing – was released last Thursday.
The report states that in 2012 nearly 41 million households paid more than 30% of their income for housing. Nearly half of all renters are considered housing burdened, meaning they pay more than 50% of their income for housing. Four out of five people who made less than $15,000 per year (roughly equal to full time work at minimum wage) paid more than 30% of their income for housing and two thirds paid more than 50%.
Logic tells us that a family spending more than 50% of their income on housing have less to spend on food and healthcare. The report confirms it.
What really caught my eye was a blog posting on the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends blog back on November 18, 2013. Erika Poethig posted that “The federal resources subsidizing homeownership far exceed those dedicated to subsidizing rental housing for America’s lowest income citizens. All the subsidies for homeownership – the mortgage interest deduction, the deduction for property taxes, and the housing value that is not taxable – add up to about $300 billion annually. Compare this to the $37.4 billion the US Department of Housing and Urban Development spends on rental housing assistance. Throw in the tax subsidies for developers of affordable housing, which is about $8 billion a year, and there is still room for improvement.”
Don’t get me wrong. I take all of the deductions associated with owning a home. But, something feels wrong about so little assistance going to help ensure that children in extremely low income families have a home.