America’s shortage of low-cost housing hit the news over the last couple of weeks with the release of NLIHC’s report, Housing Spotlight: The Shrinking Supply of Affordable Housing, analyzing 2010 American Community Survey data.
The Wall Street Journal points out that while the number of extremely low income renters grew by 200,000 households between 2009 and 2010, HUD, which funds housing resources for renters in the greatest need, is facing a $26 billion shortfall in funding.
An article on the Huffington Post discusses the housing shortage in terms of greater economic issues, saying,
In general, a wide swath of the population is living in financially precarious circumstances, with one in every five households saying they sometimes struggle to afford food, and nearly half of all households just one emergency away from falling below the poverty line.
Another national perspective shows the mismatch between location of housing and the people who need it.
In Columbus, Ohio, there are just 27 rental units affordable and available to extremely low income people The Columbus Dispatch profiles one such household struggling to make their lives work when the rent costs 60% of household income. A report from Oregon notes that the housing shortage is not just a big city problem, as people in rural areas face hardships due to unemployment.
In Pennsylvania, the focus turns to solutions, with advocates calling for state investment in affordable housing construction, where those solutions could contribute to economic growth in cities like Philadelphia.
Federal-level solutions exist as well as local ones. A report in Affordable Housing Finance points out that action from Congress, such as funding the National Housing Trust Fund, could close this affordable housing gap once and for all.