Bleak Picture for ‘Very Low-Income’ Renters

The number of very low-income renters has risen in recent years, at the same time rents are increasing. That’s according to a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group, which found that between 2009 and 2010, the number of “extremely low-income renters” grew by 200,000 nationwide. Extremely low-income renters earn less than 30 percent of their area’s median income, and the report found that for every 100 such families, only 30 affordable units were available for rent. These kinds of renters usually have less than half of their income available after paying for housing, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“What we’ve seen is a decline in the homeownership rate since 2008, and we’ve seen rent being pushed up,” pushing market-rate housing out of reach for an increasing number of people, said NLIHC chief executive Sheila Crowley in an interview. The gap between supply of affordable rental housing and demand from extremely-low income borrowers exists in all 50 states, but the problem is worst in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Michigan. “Where you have the biggest problems is where you have the biggest difference between rich and poor,” Ms. Crowley said.

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