A Housing Recovery, but Not for All Americans

Last week Harvard Research Center released a Last week the Harvard Research Center released a study (www.jchs.harvard.edu/research/state_nations_housing ) on housing in America under the heading: A Housing Recovery, But Not for All Americans.  They report “even as the recovery gains momentum, millions of homeowners are still delinquent on their mortgages or owe more than their homes are worth, and severe housing cost burdens have set a new record.” 

Here’s some of what Harvard reported:
  • In 2011 there were 12.1 million extremely low-income renter households and 6.8 million housing units affordable to extremely low-income renters.
  • 42.3 million households, 37%, had housing costs over 30% of pre-tax income (high housing cost burden)
  • 20.6 million, 17.9%, had housing costs over 50% of pre-tax income(severe housing cost burden)
    • IN NY state 22% of all households were severely housing cost burdened
    • Severely housing cost burdened households spend 0ne-third less on food, 50% less on clothing and 80% less on health care than other families
  • About 7 of 10 households earning full-time minimum wage are severely housing cost burdened
  • Renter households increased by 1.1 million in 2012, with greater demand driving higher rents
    • The renter household increase equaled the entire net increase in households last year
  • April, 2013, was the 34th consecutive months of average increased rents
  • It was also the 15th consecutive month of rent increases “year-over-year” of 2.5% or more
  • Rental vacancies, a factor that tends to reduce rent prices, fell for third year in a row  

The need has never been greater but America’s sequestration and austerity policies are slashing federal rental assistance and other programs to aid poor and low-income renters. Predictions are those cuts could result in hundreds of thousands of newly created homeless people. 

Check out the Care for the Homeless “Agenda to End Homelessness here. This is a plan to prevent and end homelessness that won’t cost more than we’re spending now but promises much improved outcomes!

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