Rental Affordability – A Hushed American Crisis

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Rental affordability has become a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, for every 100 extremely low income renter households, there are only 30 affordable and available units. In his keynote, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan describes this crisis as the “perfect storm” with elements from the housing crisis, resulting in widespread rental demand, as well as wage cuts.

Demand for rental housing is estimated to increase up to 4.7 million units over the next 10 years; naturally, because of this rise in demand, property owners are increasing the cost of rent. 8 1/2 million low income families paid half of their monthly income on rent while still living in unsatisfactory conditions. This record high, up 43% since 2007, has Secretary Donovan and HUD worried about the future of rental affordability.

Between 2010 and 2013, home investment partnership programs have been cut 50%. The plan to combat these dips in support center around HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). A central part of HUD’s rental housing preservation strategy, the goal of RAD is to build strong, secure communities while working to rehabilitate properties under a 60,000 unit competition.

Secretary Donovan’s plea to his audience at the keynote was to support HUDs efforts to lift the cap, decided by congress, from 60 thousand units to 150 thousand units. HUD has over 110 thousand applications to convert units all around the United States but can only approve 60 thousand units, the limit that congress has put into place. Approval to raise the cap on units to be converted will allow HUD to convert more homes in order to preserve for the long-term as well as bring much needed revenue to those units.


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