For every 100 extremely low income households in the U.S.—those at or below 30% of the area median income—there are only 29 “adequate, affordable, and available” rental units, according to the Urban Institute.
Those numbers reflect the world we’re living in right now. What will affordable housing look like next year if the Trump administration’s proposed budget decreases the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) budget by more than $6 billion? How will this affect families across the country?
Aside from the obvious problem of homelessness, there are a host of other repercussions that can affect our nation’s lower income individuals.
“Affordable housing is not only a roof over somebody’s head. It allows kids to do better in school, for families to stay healthier, for workers to have shorter commutes,” said Garth Rieman, the director of housing advocacy and strategic initiatives at the National Council for State Housing Agencies, speaking with American Banker. “There’s a hopefulness that once Congress understands that, they will continue to support these programs at least at the current levels of funding.”
For most Americans, regardless of income, housing is one of their greatest monthly expenses. However, for those with lower incomes, higher housing costs means less money left over to cover basic costs of living such as healthy food, prescriptions, or even an electricity bill. These individuals are often under a great amount of stress which can affect a person’s physical and mental health.
When people have access to affordable, safe housing, they’re much more likely to live healthy lives. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University discovered that families who spent about 30% of their income on housing had children with the best cognitive outcomes; those who paid too little or too much had worse results. The families that were spending too much on housing didn’t have enough money left over for books, computers, or educational outings.
While President Trump’s budget for fiscal 2018 is still a proposal, it is obvious that affordable housing will not be a priority. Now is the time for all types of investors – from individuals to institutions like the Ford Foundation who just announced last week they would commit $1 billion to impact investments – to make a difference for families and communities in need.
We’re happy to share that as of May 18th, HUD allocated an additional $163 million to help states and local governments recover from 2015 and 2016 disasters.