Photo closeup of a person writing "Rent Due" on their monthly calendar.

Shortage of 7M homes for extremely low income renters

Photo closeup of a person writing "Rent Due" on their monthly calendar.

A lack of affordable housing is the main reason for America’s rental housing crisis. This has left a shortage of 7.3 million affordable homes available to renters with extremely low incomes.

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s The Gap 2023 report, there are only 33 affordable homes available for every 100 renters with incomes below 50% of the area median income (AMI). Because of this shortage, 73% of extremely low-income renters face severe housing cost burden.

The Gap 2023 also shows that the lack of affordable rental housing has gotten even worse in recent years. The shortage increased by more than 500,000 rental homes from 2019 to 2021.

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Millions of low-income renters will lose pandemic health benefits

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), 18 million people will lose their Medicaid coverage with the end of COVID-19 pandemic benefits.

Although most people who lose coverage no longer qualify for the program, millions more will also lose Medicaid even though they are still eligible.

Many low-income renters rely on Medicaid for their health coverage. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress increased Medicaid funding and required that states not cut people off from coverage during the public health emergency.

The federal COVID-19 emergency declaration is set to end on April 1, 2023. At that time, states will begin reviewing the eligibility of everyone currently covered by Medicaid. This is often referred to as “unwinding” the emergency requirements.

These are the key facts for low-income households to know about the unwinding of pandemic Medicaid benefits:

  • All people currently on Medicaid will have to complete a full renewal.
  • Medicaid  coverage will end if a renewal is not completed.
  • Understaffed state agencies will face challenges processing the increased workload.

Section 8 recipients struggle to find a home within six months

Almost 40% of low-income renters with Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers fail to find an apartment within six months, according to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

When low-income renters receive a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher they have 60 days to find an apartment. In many cases it takes longer than this, and local Public Housing Agencies can grant extensions.

HUD found that 61% of renters issued a voucher in 2019 succeeded in finding an apartment within 180 days. The median amount of time for apartment searches was 60 days.

Success rates were much lower when looking at shorter search timeframes. Only 32% of renters with vouchers found housing after 60 days of looking, and just 45% found an apartment after searching for 90 days.

While there was little difference between rural and urban success rates, rural Public Housing Agencies reported much shorter median search times (45 days) than urban programs (92 days).

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