From the North Carolina Housing Coalition press release
Raleigh, N.C. – An analysis released on February 15 by a national housing research and advocacy group shows an alarming gap between the number low income families and the number of affordable and available rental homes in North Carolina and throughout the nation. These renter households, faced with excessively high housing costs or inadequate housing circumstances, are at great risk of becoming homeless.
Jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the North Carolina Housing Coalition, Housing Spotlight: The Shrinking Supply of Affordable Housing, shows that in North Carolina, there are only 33 rental homes both affordable and available to renter households considered extremely low income, that is, earning 30% or less of the area median income. Nationally, the data shows that while there are 9.8 million extremely low income renter households, there are only 3 million rental homes affordable and available to them, leaving 6.8 million American households without access to decent housing they can afford. No state in the nation has an adequate supply of affordable, available rental housing.
“This gap is more than just numbers on paper,” said Chris Estes, Executive Director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, “These are families in North Carolina sleeping on couches, skipping meals, living one illness away from total disaster. It’s a recipe for homelessness.” Advocates say this housing shortage compares in scale and impact to the foreclosure crisis.
While the affordable rental housing shortage itself is dire, housing advocates point to numerous available solutions. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the North Carolina Housing Trust Fund. In those 25 years, the award-wining program has financed nearly 25,000 homes and apartments, most for very low income families. To date, the Trust Fund has created over 16,000 much-needed construction jobs and generated millions in local and state tax revenue. As the state readies itself for another contentious legislative session, housing advocates are urging lawmakers to strengthen the NC Housing Trust Fund, a program with historic bi-partisan support that can help fill the gap in affordable rental housing and strengthen communities across the state.
At the federal level, advocates call for funding of the National Housing Trust Fund, which would provide communities with funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for those households impacted by the affordable housing shortage. Signed into law in 2008, the National Housing Trust Fund has not yet been funded. President Obama included $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund in his FY13 budget.
“Solving the shortage of affordable rental housing is the most important homelessness prevention measure we can undertake,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Investing in the National Housing Trust Fund is our best chance of ensuring affordable housing for all Americans.”
The full report is available on Housing Spotlight.