Latest Gap Report Reveals Only 34 Affordable and Available Homes Exist for Every 100 Extremely Low-Income Renter Households

NLIHC released on March 14 the latest version of its annual report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes. This year’s report reveals that the lowest-income renters in the U.S. face a shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes. As a result, nearly three-quarters of renters with extremely low incomes are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half of their income on rent. They account for nearly 70% of all severely cost-burdened renters in the U.S.

The Gap demonstrates that just 34 affordable and available homes exist for every 100 renter households with extremely low incomes. Extremely low-income renters account for nearly a quarter of all renters in the U.S. These renters typically work in low wage jobs or have characteristics that limit their income-receiving potential: they are more likely than other renters to be seniors, householders with disabilities, householders in school, or single-adult caregivers of young children or household members with disabilities.

This shortage of rental homes disproportionately impacts Black, Latino, and Indigenous households, as these households are both more likely to be renters and to have extremely low incomes: 19% of Black non-Latino households, 16% of American Indian or Alaska Native households, and 13% of Latino households are extremely low-income renters, compared to only 6% of white non-Latino households. This disparity is the product of historical and ongoing injustices that have systematically disadvantaged people of color, contributing to lower homeownership rates, income, and wealth accumulation.

The deficit of affordable and available rental homes impacts every state and the District of Columbia, resulting in widespread housing cost burdens. The states with the most severe shortages – Nevada, Arizona, California, Alaska, Florida, and Texas – have fewer than three affordable rental homes available for every 10 extremely low-income renters, with Nevada having fewer than two. Even states with the least severe shortages still have significant shortfalls, having fewer than six rental homes affordable and available for every 10 extremely low-income renters.

The report explains that the private market cannot adequately serve renters with extremely low incomes and funding for housing assistance is insufficient, creating a systemic national problem. Despite this, some interest groups and decisionmakers at the federal level continue to prioritize housing subsidies targeted to middle-income renters. Although a growing number of middle-income renter households are facing affordability challenges, these issues are localized and relatively small in scale – middle-income renters continue to account for merely 1% of all severely cost-burdened renter households. Local solutions could readily address these concerns, while concerted efforts at the federal level are necessary for remedying the nationwide shortage of affordable, available housing for extremely low-income renters.

Congress must make sustained investments in deeply income-targeted programs such as the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing to address this significant gap in affordable rental housing. Furthermore, greater federal investment is needed in the preservation and expansion of the affordable housing stock and emergency assistance for renters who experience an unexpected short-term financial shock.

Read the full Gap report and find an interactive map at: