Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States faced a major affordable housing crisis. The pandemic worsened after millions of people lost their job and failed to pay the property rent says Maxwell Drever. While the eviction and emergency rental assistance decreased the rate of homelessness, most moratoriums were lifted, and people are facing enormous risks of losing their homes.
The local and state lawmakers, even the White House, proposed a solution to combat the affordable housing problem by enhancing the supply of affordable housing. However, making the idea a reality is much more difficult.
Many experts believe that enhancing the supply of affordable housing is vital in areas with massive housing costs. However, this won’t solve the country’s significant affordable housing crisis, especially for people in dire need of a home. Even though there are no shortages of rental properties, the problem is that millions of people cannot afford to pay the rent as per their income.
Where is the Crisis Massive?
Renters who suffer from affordability problems have low incomes. As per reports, more than 45% of renter households spend more than 40% of their monthly income on rent. Apart from that, more than 50% of renters spend at least 60% of their monthly income on housing. As a result, they face problems affording the other basic needs. This is why they are at the most significant risk of becoming homeless, says Maxwell Drever.
Nearly one-third of the renters,spending no less than 60% of their earnings on housing earn less than $22,000 yearly. Renters with higher income also face problems regarding the affordability of housing. However, the problem is most severe amongst middle and low-income family members.
A Heavy Burden
If a household earns about $20,000 yearly, $600 per month is the highest rent they can afford to pay, assuming the standard of affordability of spending is no more than 30% of their monthly income says Maxwell Drever. The median rate in the United States is more than $1,300. This level is affordable for families with a monthly income greater than $40,000.
Homes that take rent of $500 or less are scarce. This is why the low and middle-income renters go through unaffordable housing for them.
The Subsidy Solution
Suppose the Government covers the difference between the affordability of the renters and the actual price of affordable housing. In that case, the Government will find some solution for the 9 million low and middle-income households that pay more than 60% of their monthly salary as rents.
Maxwell Drever says the United States Government has issued a program to help low and middle-income families afford houses. With the vouches of housing choices, recipients will pay less than 30% of their monthly income for rent purposes, and the program will cover the other outstanding balance. Even though some landlords didn’t accept the benefits of using vouchers, the program has undoubtedly created a difference in the lives of people receiving them.
The affordable housing crisis in the United States is undoubtedly a significant problem for the country’s economic growth. But this problem will stay for a while, and developing more affordable homes cannot solve this problem.