New Report finds Louisiana’s Housing Supply is Insufficient
Thursday, Mar. 16, 2023 – The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and HousingLOUISIANA, finds a national shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renter households – those with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income, whichever is greater. Nationwide, there are just 33 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.
In Louisiana, there are 191,769 extremely low-income households but only 85,987 affordable rental homes available to them. Louisiana has only 45 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes. Facing a shortage of 105,782 affordable and available rental homes, 68% of these renters are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for other basic necessities.
“We are in the midst of a worsening housing crisis,” says Andreanecia Morris, President of HousingLOUISIANA. “Last year it was sky-high utility rates and this year it’s increasing insurance rates and rent making residents worry about being able to keep their homes. Louisiana lawmakers must act to #PutHousingFirst. They can start by using the unspent American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) dollars provided by the federal government to create housing opportunities and prioritize housing investments. State and localities are sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars, and what they are spending isn’t going towards housing. To truly #PutHousingFirst, they need to put adequate resources towards improving our housing stock, combatting skyrocketing construction costs and long-term insurance premiums.”
The problem is being felt across our state. “Affordable housing has become a scarcity, says Kentrell Jones, Executive Director/CEO of the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity. “We must create a comprehensive housing strategy to address the rising rental rates and lack of housing stock. Low- income renters are paying more than 50% of their income on housing leaving little to no income to use towards other necessities. Unaffordable housing and strained budgets lead to overcrowding, homelessness, and health issues. Policymakers at all levels should prioritize housing affordability by making additional capital investments in housing.”
“The ability of our brothers and sisters to have safe, sanitary and secure housing is a fledging dream,” says Chris Williams, PhD, the CEO of Sun Community Housing Development Organization, a Lafayette parish non-profit working to build communities through affordable housing and programming. “Rental rates are high and new construction cost is at record highs, as inflation eats into a $7.25 per hour employment rate. How long will we wait to create a space for housing? How long will we kick the can down the road? The time is now to demand resources for our shortage of housing and recognize this affects our mental health, education, economics, health, and overall well-being. We must stand up, together and fight for housing for ALL.”
In 2020 there were 6 million renters (14.5% of all renters) behind on rent. As of March 2022, that number is still high– 5.4 million (14% of all renters). Extremely low-income households are two-thirds of that number behind on rent. In Louisiana, 32% of renter households are extremely low income.
“I was affected by my rent going up so high,” says Ramonica Hollins of Monroe. “My rent was increased by $300 dollars, so I had to move. I have 3 children and they were forced to change schools, which is difficult for them. My life would be so much easier if I had the same rent and a law in place that would say rent could not be raised if you made a certain amount of money.”
Between 2019 and 2021, the nationwide shortage of affordable housing for extremely low-income renters worsened by more than half a million units. While rental inflation has cooled going into 2023, extremely low-income renters will continue to face significant barriers to finding and maintaining affordable housing, as their incomes are insufficient to cover even modest rental prices. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.
“As this year’s Gap report makes clear, extremely low-income renters are facing a staggering shortage of affordable and available homes,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “In the wake of the pandemic, federal housing investments are more critical than ever for sustaining our communities and helping low-income people thrive. Yet House Republicans are now threatening to cut funding for the very programs that provide a lifeline to low-income renters. Balancing the national budget must not be done on the backs of our nation’s lowest-income and most marginalized people and families.”
Every year, The Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to extremely low-income families and individuals. This year’s report finds that the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by significant rent increases, drastically impacted the supply of affordable and available rental homes, nationally, in recent years. As households lost income and rental prices increased, the number of extremely low-income households rose, while the number of units affordable to them shrank. For additional information, visit: http://nlihc.org/gap
HousingLOUISIANA is a statewide initiative aimed at meeting Louisiana’s housing needs and create a statewide network of regional housing alliances to ensure better collaboration across the state. Under the #PutHousingFirst banner, Louisiana has built out its Housing Triad, a multi-pronged strategy transforming the affordable housing marketplace across the state. This alignment supports a housing-centered foundation for intersectional community-rooted initiatives designed to respond to climate change, criminal justice reform, racial inequity, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the hurricanes that have devastated South Louisiana over the last few years.