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Affordable Housing & Household Stability

One in four renter households in the U.S. pays more than half their income on rent, and another 610,000 people have no home at all.

• Across the U.S., 10.9 million low-income renter households and 7.5 million low-income homeowner households are severely cost burdened - paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs.1 Another estimated 610,000 people (or 400,000 households) were homeless in 2013. This may underestimate the scale of the crisis because the industry lacks complete data on all forms of housing instability – households that miss rent payments, move involuntarily or double up because they cannot afford to live on their own.


• According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the majority of the nation’s cost-burdened households are low-income, making them vulnerable to a wide variety of negative impacts caused by housing insecurity.


• The scale of the housing crisis for low-income households is growing, as average rental rates are increasing while the number of available low-cost rental units is shrinking. In 2010, the U.S. had 5.1 million more low-income renters than affordable units to house them - a shortfall greater than the entire Boston metro area population. Access to decent, affordable housing provides stability for vulnerable families and helps prevent homelessness.


• Access to quality, affordable housing helps create a stable environment for children by reducing frequent family moves.


• Research shows that housing subsidies can reduce the likelihood that a low-income, at-risk family becomes homeless. A very robust study found that, over a four year period, families that received housing vouchers were 74 percent less likely to stay in a shelter or on the street than families without a housing subsidy.


• Studies over the past two decades have repeatedly shown that homeless families who are discharged from shelters to subsidized housing are more stable, live in higher quality and safer environments and are less likely to return to shelter than families without a housing subsidy.

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