State of Housing in 2019: Multiple New Perspectives

Date Published: 
July 11th, 2019

New reports by a variety of organizations – the National League of Cities, Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, and National Low-Income Housing Coalition – evaluate the current state of affordable housing form distinct perspectives. Importantly, each study cites the importance of housing to self-sufficiency, health outcomes, and educational opportunities.

  • NLC: Homeward Bound: The Road to Affordable Housing presents the findings of an NLC commission of local leaders, chaired by Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser. The Commission provides distinct recommendations for national housing policy and local housing efforts such as stabilizing and stemming the loss of public and affordable housing, and passing a long-term, stand-alone federal housing bill at the national level. For local communities, they recommend combining funding and financing streams, and modernizing land use policies in zoning and permitting, among other actions.
  • NLIHC: Out of Reach 2019 (report | interactive charts), the 30th anniversary of this annual report, explores what is called the current “housing wage” or what hourly wage Americans must earn in order to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental home. In 2019, the wage is about $23/hour, more than $15 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The extensive report provides state and county findings, the latter of which suggest that in 99 percent of counties in the U.S., full-time workers earning minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom rental home.
  • PAHRC: 2019 Housing Impact Report outlines how publicly-assisted housing programs impact residents and elucidates the effects by exploring outcome trends, including those for especially vulnerable populations such as seniors, children, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. The report explores the impact of housing in lifting people out of poverty. In 2017, housing subsidies lifted 2.9 million people out of poverty, down 6 percent from 2016.
  • JCHS: State of the Nation’s Housing 2019 finds that while there is household growth in the post-recession economy, housing construction is not quite keeping pace. While JCHS cites excess supply in the wake of the housing boom and perennial labor shortages, they cite rising land prices and regulatory constraints on development, largely driven at the local level, as significant factors impeding solutions to shortages.
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