This map explains the depth of America’s affordable housing crisis | Tuesday Morning Coffee

March 19, 2019 7:01 am

Map by The National Affordable Housing Coalition via CityLab

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
A new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition drives home the reality of America’s affordable housing crisis — and the results aren’t pretty. And rather than think of some clever way to sum it up, we’re going to let the study’s authors speak for themselves.

“Nationally, there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to the lowest-income renters. Rents have risen faster than renters’ incomes over the last two decades, and while more people are renting than ever, the supply of housing has lagged,” Diane Yentel , the coalition’s president and CEO writes in a piece for CityLab. “Fewer than four affordable and available rental homes exist for every 10 deeply poor renter households nationwide. As a result, record-breaking numbers of families cannot afford decent homes.”

Pennsylvania, with 42 rental homes available for every 100 extremely low-income renters falls roughly in the middle of the national pack, according to the map above. The coalition defines extremely low-income as those “households with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30 percent of the area median income.”

On that basis, Nevada fares worst with a paltry 19 homes per 100 extremely low-income renters, while Wyoming, with 66 homes per 100 extremely low-income renters, fares the best, according to the coalition’s data.

But before Pennsylvania starts getting too self-congratulatory, the report finds that “no state has an adequate supply of homes affordable and available to its lowest-income renters,” Yentel wrote.

“As a result of the shortage, 11 million renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, paying more than half of their limited incomes on rent,” she continued. “The vast majority of them have extremely low incomes, and most are seniors, people with disabilities, or people in the low-wage labor force. With more than half of their limited incomes going to keep roofs over their heads, they are forced to make impossible choices between paying rent and buying groceries, seeing a doctor, or saving for college or a rainy day.”

And, surprising exactly no one: “The budget recently proposed by the Trump Administration would compound this crisis,” she wrote.

“As we pointed out in our public response to the budget proposal, the president would underfund rental assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program, eliminate the national Housing Trust Fund and funding needed to repair public housing, and raise rents—by as much as three times current levels—on America’s poorest families. While the administration suggests its proposed budget would provide an increase in funding to the voucher program, this is simply false,” Yentel continued.

A forthcoming poll commissioned by the coalition shows that “the vast majority of Americans (85 percent) believe that ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to live should be a “top national priority.” Eight in ten Americans (82 percent) want elected leaders to address housing affordability and nine in ten think we should do more to prevent homelessness. Eighty percent believe that Congress should “take major action” to make housing more affordable for low-income people,” Yentel wrote.

That means it’s on all of us to make our voices heard to policymakers.

Our Stuff:
Our ‘Brain-Drain’ series continues this Tuesday morning. Elizabeth Hardison spoke with some experts who think the whole thing is overblown.
York College of Pennsylvania President Pamela Gunter-Smith, who’s been popping up in these pages pretty frequently lately, offers her own prescriptions for plugging the brain drain.
Sarah Anne Hughes swung by LG John Fetterman’s marijuana legalization forum in Lancaster on Monday night.
Voting along party lines, a Pa. House committee advanced a bill that would enshrine tenets of the union-busting Janus decision in state lawStephen Caruso has the story.
State Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, who has been accused of sexual assault, resigned his House seat on Monday afternoon.
The new head of the state System of Higher Education says Pa’s 14 state-owned universities are facing their challenges ‘aggressively and audaciously.’

On the Opinion side of the house, Gov. Tom Wolf talks up the administration’s RestorePA plan to fix Pennsylvania’s ailing infrastructure.

A data broker at Princeton tried to sell information on ‘millions of kids,’ The Inquirerreports.
Forty years after the Three Mile Island accident, PennLive looks at changing attitudes toward nuclear power.
Pa. prisons will be tobacco-free starting July 1The Post-Gazette reports.
The Tribune-Review talks to a Pitt law professor about what to look for during the Michael Rosfeld trial. 
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke will campaign in State College on Tuesday. The Morning Call has the details.
BillyPenn updates on the state of homelessness in Philadelphia.

What Happens on Twitter:

The new mayor of Braddock, Pa., Chardae Jones, wants to try a few new things with the police departmentThe Incline reports.
The New Jersey Legislature has moved closer to legalizing recreational marijuanaWITF-FM reports.
The Associated Press 
explains how border wall spending could ‘siphon’ money away from Fort Indiantown Gap (via WITF-FM).

Here’s a very colorful #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

Politico explains how the Trump White House is getting ready to stonewall House Democrats’ oversight demands.
The latest fundraising tallies for Beto O’Rourke and other candidates are ‘ridiculous,’ Nathan Gonzales writes for Roll Call.

What Goes On.
The House gavels in at 11 a.m. The Senate gets rolling at its customary 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, there’s a full slate of prepackaged press events on offer.
9 a.m., Main Rotunda: “A Gathering at the Crossroads” event. It calls for a monument commemorating the 150th anniversary of African-American men’s right to vote, as well as the 100th anniversary of all women’s right to vote
9:30 a.m., Media Center: Sens. Camera Bartolotta and Sharif Street, as well as Reps. Nelson and Neilson, and others  talk up benefits of pipelines.
10 a.m., Main Rotunda: Pipeline safety rally. We sense a pattern developing.
10 a.m., Media Center: The Dept. of Human Services releases a report attesting to its own awesomeness.
11:30 a.m., Main Rotunda: “Grow Pa” advocacy day, which isn’t about plants, but lower taxes.
12 p.m., LG’s Porch: Sen. Christine Tartaglione and Rep. Jared Solomon pay tribute to a community service group.
2:30 p.m., Main Rotunda: The Poor People’s Campaign releases its ‘moral agenda.’

Gov. Tom Wolf does an on-air interview on KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh at 8:07 a.m. this Tuesday morning.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Hope you limbered up, donors. Your checkbooks are gonna get a workout.
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. Steve Santarsiero
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Rep. Jim Marshall
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. John Yudichak
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. Maria Collett
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. Mike Regan
11:30 a.m.: Luncheon for Sen. Scott Martin
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Sue Helm
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Tina Davis
6 p.m.: Reception for Sen. Jake Corman
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a truly nauseating $18,500 today.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one from Vampire Weekend to get the day rolling. It’s ‘Sunflower.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Winnipeg got past Los Angeles 3-2 on Monday night. The Jets built their Central Division lead with the win.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.