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LOW INCOME PEOPLE STILL HIT HARD IN HOUSING

 NLIHC Participates in Release of State of the Nation’s Housing: 2009

 

New YorkNY - NLIHC President Sheila Crowley was among the speakers at today’s release of The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2009. The annual report, by the Joint Centerfor Housing Studies at Harvard University, examines national trends related to both homeownership and rental housing. This year’s report is set against the backdrop of the falling home prices, rising foreclosures, and deepening recession that are gripping the country.

 

“Again this year, the Joint Center on Housing Studies has distilled the multitude of data sources that describe the housing circumstances of people in the United States and produced a volume that makes sense of this complex, yet basic, element of economic and social life. With housing front and center in the current economic turmoil, this report is more important than ever,” Ms. Crowley said.

 

As expected, low income homeowners and renters are hit especially hard in the current climate. The report finds that in 2007, the year for which the most recent data exists, 51% of low income renters and 43% of low income owners paid more than half their incomes for housing. The authors define low income as being in the bottom quartile of the nation’s income distribution. Altogether, 17.9 million households were found to have spent more than half of their incomes on housing, a 30% increase that the authors called “unprecedented.” Households are considered cost-burdened when they spend more than 30% of their incomes for housing, and severely cost-burdened when they spend more than 50%.   

 

“As the report clearly articulates, for those who are already weighed down by unsustainable housing cost burdens, that is, the lowest income people, the recession exacerbates the fragility of their housing. As unemployment grows, so does poverty, and we know that one in 10 people in poverty will become homeless,” Ms. Crowley said. “Homelessness is what economists call a lagging indicator of a recession, and we will see more homelessness as unemployment drags on. To the family who loses its home, it is a severe trauma with lasting damage to the family’s emotional, physical and financial well-being.”

 

Also speaking at the event were Nicolas P. Retsinas, Director, Eric S. Belsky, Executive Director, and Daniel McCue, Research Analyst with the Joint Center for Housing Studies; and Gary Garczynski, Chairman of the Board of Officers & Executive Committee of the National Housing Endowment.

 

The report includes chapters on Housing Markets, Demographic Drivers, Homeownership, Rental Housing, and Housing Challenges, as well as an appendix of tables. The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2009 is available at http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/publications/markets/son2009/index.htm

 

A video interview with Mr. Retsinas and other materials related to the release are available at: http://www.youtube.com/user/HarvardKennedySchool

 

Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

###

National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)

727 15th Street NW
, 6th Floor, WashingtonD.C. 20005 
202/662-1530; Fax 202/393-1973; 
info@nlihc.org; www.nlihc.org

 



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