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Affording Rent

High Cost of Rent

Far too many Americans are burdened with unsustainable rents. Nearly half of renters pay more than 30% of their income on housing, while nearly one in four pays in excess of 50%. Households with low incomes are the most likely to experience these severe cost burdens. High rental costs force painful decisions about how to allocate scarce financial resources to pay for food, health care, and other critical needs. Heavily rent-burdened households are constantly at risk of eviction, as the loss of a job, the death or departure of a working household member, or a major medical crisis could make rent impossible to afford.

Insufficient Resources for Rental Assistance

Federal rental assistance is a powerful tool for reducing homelessness, improving housing stability, and enhancing economic opportunity. Unfortunately, due to limited funding, only one in five low-income families eligible for such assistance receives it. Many families wait years in a lottery system before receiving aid. When households experience a financial shock and have no access to housing assistance, missed rental payments can result in eviction, which can be devastating for a family’s economic prospects, leading to multiple unwanted moves or homelessness.

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