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Housing Matters: The Gap

Samuel Gunter, Executive Director

Today, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released its annual report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes 2019. The report reveals a national housing shortage of nearly a million affordable and available rental homes for our nation’s extremely low-income (ELI) renter households, one-quarter of all renters in the U.S. This severe shortage forces 71% of our poorest families – seniors, people with disabilities, and low-wage families – to be severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on their rent and utilities and leaving them insufficient resources for food, medicines, and other basic necessities.

There is a gap of 196,231 units in the North Carolina that are available and affordable.

In North Carolina there are 347,105 ELI households but only 150,874 affordable rental homes available to them. That is a gap of 196,231 units in the North Carolina that are available and affordable. Put another way, there is a deficit of 43 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI households. Nearly 70% of all of North Carolina’s ELI households are severely cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than half of their income on housing. The result is housing instability, evictions, and in the worst cases homelessness.

Nearly 70% of all of North Carolina’s ELI households are severely cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than half of their income on housing.

The gap in North Carolina cities:

  • Charlotte, NC has 68,681 ELI households, and a gap of 46,484 available and affordable units; and
  • Raleigh, NC has 31,218 ELI households, and a gap of 23,065 available and affordable units.

This is an unacceptable situation, and we must build the political will to make significant and sustained investments in affordable homes for the lowest income people at all levels of government. You can go to NLIHC’s new website to learn more about the need for greater investment at the federal level. You can also see the North Carolina Housing Coalition’s legislative priorities for investment at the state level.

This week I was invited to speak to a newly created Housing Working Group in the North Carolina House of Representatives about the affordable housing need in North Carolina. Legislators are beginning to understand more the need for solutions. Home is the first rung on the ladder of opportunity. A safe, stable, and affordable place to call home is what families need to achieve better health, educational advancement, and economic mobility. Our policy makers have the ability to unlock incredible opportunity for those with the lowest incomes in our state by investing in affordable housing. Contact your elected officials today and urge them to make that investment a priority.

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Policy Update 3-14-19

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