New Report Highlights Rising Need for Federal Housing Assistance

A new brief released by the Urban Institute, “Trends in Housing Problems and Federal Housing Assistance,” shows that low-income renter needs are far outpacing the amount of federal housing assistance that is available to these households. The number of low-income households with housing needs increased 24 percent between 2005 and 2015 and now accounts for over half of all renters. However, at the same time, the number of households receiving federal rental assistance — including public housing, privately-owned subsidized housing (such as the Housing Credit) and housing vouchers — declined sharply, from 24 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2015. These findings indicate that the housing assistance gap will continue to worsen as the need continues to expand and funding for federal housing assistance remains stagnant. The Housing Credit has been the fastest growing U.S. housing program over the past 20 years, and allows subsidy resources to spread among more households than would otherwise be possible. This report highlights the critical need to not only preserve and sustain the Housing Credit in tax reform, but to also expand Housing Credit resources as a first step in addressing the vast affordable rental housing needs nationwide.

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