REPORT: Severe Shortage of Affordable Housing in Louisiana Means Families with the Lowest Incomes Suffer Most

Thursday, April 21, 2022 – The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and HousingLOUISIANA, reveals a severe shortage of affordable and available rental homes for the lowest-income households across our state and nation. In Louisiana, for every 100 Extremely Low Income (ELI) families, there are only 45 affordable housing units available for them to rent. Extremely Low Income (ELI) is defined as those who are at or below the poverty level or earn 30% or below the Area Median Income (AMI). This year’s report shows our state is facing a shortage of more than 105,000 affordable and available rental homes, and 68% of these renters are severely housing cost-burdened. 

“Our gap of affordable and available housing for those very low income and extremely low-income households is getting bigger each year – and this population includes seniors and people with disabilities,” said Andreanecia M. Morris, HousingLOUISIANA President.  “The solution is to stabilize and then invest in housing that low-income households can afford because the private market is not going to produce them. We have a window of opportunity to use the unspent American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding provided by the federal government to help solve our housing crisis—particularly as these funds were allocated to address the impact of COVID-19 which has devastated vulnerable renters.”   

Nationwide, there is a shortage of 7 million affordable and available rental homes for the lowest-income households. Seventy-one percent of the poorest renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for other basic necessities. “The pandemic has made plain our nation’s lack of a housing safety net,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “It is time to invest in long-term housing policies that will finally address the systemic shortage of affordable housing and provide housing stability for the lowest-income families.” 

Although the federal government took unprecedented actions to protect the lowest-income renters, the government’s actions were temporary. In Louisiana and across most of the country, eviction moratoriums have been lifted and resources such as federal emergency rental assistance are running out. Longer-term federal investments in affordable housing are needed to combat the underlying shortage of affordable housing that exposed so many of these lowest-income renters to housing instability in the first place. These solutions include: 

  • Expanding resources to the national Housing Trust Fund and dedicate resources to local and state housing trust funds 
  • Increasing funding for Housing Choice Vouchers and other long term rental subsidy programs 
  • Preserving the existing affordable housing stock by increasing capital investment in public housing and sufficiently funding the preservation of Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) and USDA rural housing 
  • Creating an emergency stabilization fund 

In 2020 there were 6 million renters behind on rent.  As of March 2022, that number is still high, at 5.4 million.  Extremely Low Income (ELI) households make up two-thirds of those behind on rent. The report shows how these lowest-income renters were uniquely positioned to suffer disproportionately from the effects of lost income and housing insecurity during the pandemic. 

The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes is an annual report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) that highlights the shortage of affordable homes for low-income renters throughout the United States. Extremely low-income households with incomes below the poverty line or 30% of their area median income (AMI) face the most severe housing shortages of any income group. For additional information and to view the full report, visit: 

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