Harvard reports more struggle to pay for housing

Harvard Report

On June 14, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released its annual housing report, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2012. As the title indicates, the study provides an assessment of the nation’s housing outlook and summarizes important trends in the economics and demographics of housing.

While the research focuses on all aspects of the housing market, we at Coalition for the Homeless were most interested in the Housing Challenges section. Here are some statistics that stood out to us:

  • 42 million households (37 percent) pay more than 30 percent of income for housing (moderate burden)
  • A record 20.2 million households (18 percent) pay more than half of income for housing (severe burden)
  • After paying for housing, severely cost-burdened families in the bottom expenditure quartile in 2010 had just $619 left over on average each month for all other needs.
  • Only about a quarter of very low-income households (those earning less than 50 percent of the area median income) receive federal rental assistance.
  • In 2001, 8.1 million low-income renters (those earning less than $15,000 annually) competed for 5.7 million affordable units, leaving a gap of 2.4 million units. By 2010, the shortfall had more than doubled to 5.1 million units.

This report indicates that more renters than ever before struggle to pay for housing. A lack of affordable housing is a major contributor to homelessness, so expanding the supply of safe, decent housing that is affordable to the growing number of low-income Americans is a critical need.

Check out the full report and let us know what you think!