• In only 28 counties out of over 3,000 counties nationwide can a full-time worker earning minimum wage afford a one-bedroom rental home (NLIHC, 2019)
  • The 2019 national Housing Wage is $22.96 per hour for a two-bedroom rental home, or more than 3.1 times higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The 2017 Housing Wage for a one-bedroom rental home is $18.65, or 2.5 times higher than the federal minimum wage (NLIHC, 2019)
  • Almost 10 million ELI households are cost-burdened (paying more than 30% of their income toward housing) and 8 million are severely cost-burdened (paying more than 50% of their income toward housing) (NLIHC, 2015)
  • The number of households with “worst-case housing needs” – that is, households with very low incomes that either pay more than half their income for rent or live in severely substandard housing, and receive no aid – has risen by 66% since 2001 (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2017).

73% of extremely low-income renters spend more than half of their income for housing.
— Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2015

Unaffordable homes drive poor people deeper into poverty, deprive them of other necessities, and limit their chances of climbing out of poverty

  • Affordable housing frees up more family income for other necessities, such as nutritious food, transportation, health care, and savings.  According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, affordable housing enables families to spend nearly five times more on healthcare, a third more on food, and twice as much on retirement savings.
  • When families struggle to pay rent, they face greater risks of instability, eviction, and even homelessness, which research links to food insecurity, poor health, lower cognitive scores and academic achievement, and more frequent foster care placement among children (see sector pages for more detail)

Federal housing assistance supports seniors, families, and others but it is chronically underfunded, poorly matched to need, and faces unprecedented threats

  • Housing assistance raised 4 million people out of poverty in 2012, including 1.5 million children (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).
  • Rental assistance sharply reduces housing instability and homelessness, which reduces families’ risks of food insecurity, domestic violence, and family separations (HUD Family Options Study, 2015)
  • Rental assistance enables families to live in safe neighborhoods with quality schools, which improves children’s chances of attending college and earning more as adults, and reduces their chances of becoming single parents (Chetty 2015)
  • Federal housing expenditures are poorly matched to need and overwhelmingly benefit homeowners, not renters (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
  • Only 1 in 4 needy households receive rental assistance due to funding limitations (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2017)
  • Recent housing cuts continue 20 years of federal disinvestment (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)