Study: Housing Shortage Looms for Low-Income Families

housing-shortageLow-income households face a potential housing shortage that could lead to a large rise in homelessness, warns a new report by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness.

The study shows that there are 5.4 million housing units available for rent to a family of three at the federal poverty line of $18,310. However, there are more than double the number of households below the poverty line (10.9 million).

The shortage in housing has led to a 20 percent rise in family homelessness from 2007 to 2010, according to the ICPH report, “A Home by Any Other Name: Enhancing Shelters Addresses the Gap in Low-Income Housing.” 

The ICPH blames the rising cost of rental units and a decline in the number of public housing projects for the shortage in affordable residences.

"It is clear that the number of affordable rental units has not changed in three decades as the number of people who need affordable housing has skyrocketed," says Matthew Adams, ICPH’s principal policy analyst. "This gap is unsustainable.”

Americans who earn the minimum wage cannot afford fair market value of rent for at two-bedroom apartment, according to the report. What’s more, the amount of federal dollars that is spent on housing programs for low-income households has dropped 20 percent since 1995 and is at a record low. 

Source: “Homeless Face Unprecedented, Overwhelming Housing Shortage,” Realty Times (Sept. 20, 2012)

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