The New York Times cites need for more affordable housing

In an editorial, The New York Times cites the need for more affordable housing, noting that affordable federal housing programs have not kept pace with the growing demand for it. More than 8.5 million very low-income families pay more than half their incomes for housing. Yet, new affordable housing is scarce and older apartments have been removed from subsidy programs in order to raise rents. The NYT calls on Congress and the Administration to do more.

The Affordable Housing Crisis

5 Dec 2012 - Editorial, The New York Times


The precious few federal programs that provide rental assistance to the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable families are already underfinanced. These programs provide decent housing for about only a quarter of the low-income families who qualify for them. And with nearly nine million households teetering on the verge of homelessness, the country clearly needs more support for affordable housing, not less.

The main federal programs are traditional public housing, for which the government provides operating expenses, plus two different programs under Section 8 of the housing law, in which rents are subsidized in privately owned properties. Federal housing programs provide a lifeline for about five million low-income households that would otherwise be unable to afford livable housing at all.

More than half of these households are headed by elderly or disabled people and more than a third are families that include children. These families are overwhelmingly “extremely low income,” which means they earn less than a third of the median income in the areas where they live.

Congress has not treated these housing programs kindly in recent years. Between 2010 and 2012, financing fell by about $2.5 billion, or nearly 6 percent, although some of this was mitigated by one-time measures, like spending from reserves. President Obama’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year is not much of an improvement; given inflation, Congress would have to increase appropriations just to keep treading water, when, in fact, what the poor in this country need is a significant jump.

The administration obviously needs to do better. The number of families eligible for this program has grown significantly since the start of the recession. Last year, for example, 8.5 million very-low-income families without housing assistance paid more than half their incomes for housing — an increase of 43 percent from 2007. Continued[+]...

> Read the full New York Times editorial.

> Read LISC's response to the Editor.

Article Type: News