Affordable Housing complexBy Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

The number of lower-income tenants looking to secure low-cost rentals has increased by nearly 5 million households in the past 15 years nationwide, but the number of rental units has shrunk by nearly 2.5 million, according to a recently released study.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the decline in rental units stems from demolitions, renovations, conversions of low-rent units to other uses and rent increases.

“The loss took place even as the total number of renters rose by over 10 million,” notes Elizabeth La Jeunesse, a senior research analyst at the Joint Center. “As a result of these changes, the national share of units renting for less than $800 shrank from over half in 1990 to only one-third in 2016.”

The lack of affordable housing and the strong competition for affordable housing that already exists have both led to extremely high cost-burden rates for the country’s lowest income renters, La Jeunesse writes.  “For example, across all 50 states and D.C., between 60 and 88 percent of renters with incomes under $32,000 paid more than 30 percent of their incomes for rent,” she notes, “while between 35 and 67 percent paid more than half of their incomes for rent – leaving less money for other basic household expenses.”

To read more, go here: