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U.S. Opinions on Federal Rental Assistance: A BPC/Morning Consult Poll

Key Takeaways

The burden of high housing and related costs has remained persistent over the past two years.

  • Over the past three months, 15% of respondents fell behind on rent or mortgage payments, compared to 13% in 2022 and 17% in 2021. 21% reported falling behind on utilities, compared to 20% in 2022 and 22% in 2021.
  • Compared to our surveys in September 2021 and September 2022, experiences with eviction, mortgage forbearance, and foreclosure all ticked up:
    • Nearly one-in-twelve (8%) of respondents received an eviction notice over the past three months, up from one-in-twenty (5%) in 2021 and 2022.
    • 7% entered mortgage forbearance over the past three months, up from 4% in 2021 and 2022.
    • 6% entered or completed the foreclosure process in the past three months, up from 3% in 2021 and 2022.
  • 38% of respondents in the latest survey reported an increase in rent, mortgage, or utility payments, down from 54% in 2022.
  • Difficulty making mortgage payments remained consistent with our previous surveys while difficulty paying rent declined slightly.
  • 30% said it was somewhat or very difficult to pay their monthly mortgage payment compared to 29% in both 2021 and 2022.
  • 41% said it was somewhat or very difficult to pay their monthly rent, compared to 49% in 2021 and 52% in 2022.

Americans across the political spectrum see our country’s inadequate supply of housing as a problem and a driver of high housing costs—and want Congress to act.

  • Three-in-four adults (74%) said the lack of an adequate supply of affordable homes is a problem in the United States. Three-in-four adults (75%) also think inadequate housing supply contributes to high housing costs.
  • A bipartisan majority of adults (75%) think passing bipartisan legislation to increase the supply of affordable homes and help address high housing costs should be a priority for Congress this year, including 83% of Democrats, 71% of independents, and 68% of Republicans).
  • More than half of Millennial respondents (51%) – born between 1981 and 1996 – said passing legislation to increase the supply of housing and address high housing costs should be a top priority for Congress—which is the highest of all age groups surveyed.

Though most respondents were not familiar with HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program, there was broad, bipartisan support for efforts to improve and expand the program once explained.

  • A majority of respondents (71%) had either never heard of the Housing Choice Voucher program or had heard of it, but didn’t know what it is.
  • Yet once provided basic details of the program and how it works, a bipartisan majority of respondents (75%) said it should be a priority for Congress to fund the program at a level to meet the needs of all eligible low-income households, including 86% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 65% of Republicans.
  • A bipartisan majority of adults (75%) also think it should be a priority to reform the Housing Choice Voucher program to ensure the program helps as many eligible low-income households as possible, including 82% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 62% of Republicans.
  • Respondents would “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the listed measures in the figure below being included in bipartisan legislation to reform and improve the Housing Choice Voucher Program:

As the table demonstrates, a majority of Republicans and Democrats supported measures from President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget proposal as well as measures in two bipartisan bills introduced in the 118th Congress: S. 1267, the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act, and S.32, the Choice in Affordable Housing Act.

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Survey Parameters

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult between April 24, 2023 – April 27, 2023 among a national sample of 2,201 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, race, educational attainment, region, gender by age, and race by educational attainment. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

For questions, or to speak to Executive Director of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy, Dennis Shea, please contact BPC media relations manager Libby Miller.

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