Affordable Housing Need Still Surges, Pandemic Increases Risk for BIPOC Communities
March 18, 2021
Chief Communications and Public Policy Officer
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Colorado—The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, finds a national shortage of 6.8 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income (ELI) renter households, those with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income. For the second year in a row, there are just 37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI renter households nationwide. Seventy-two percent of the poorest renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing with little left over for other basic necessities.
Every year, The Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to financially-vulnerable families and individuals. “The COVID-19 pandemic put a national spotlight on the challenges of low income earners to attain and retain affordable housing and the catastrophic impact housing, or lack thereof, has on a person’s livelihood and health,” said Cathy Alderman, Chief Communications and Public Policy Officer for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “Not surprising given our nation’s history of systemic injustice for BIPOC communities, access to affordable housing intersects staunchly with race.”
According to the NLIHC’s report, renters of color are more likely than white households to have extremely low incomes. Twenty percent of Black households, 18% of American Indian or Alaska Native households, 14% of Latino households, and 10% of Asian households are extremely low-income renters. Only 6% of white non-Latino households are extremely low-income renters.
In Colorado, there are 162,557 extremely low income households but only 49,447 affordable rental homes available to them. The result is a deficit of 70 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes, and 74.4 percent severely housing cost-burdened households at a high risk of homelessness in Colorado. Conversely, for people living at 100% of the area medium income (or with a moderate household income), there is a surplus of 103 units available per 100 needed, showing that the greatest need for units are for those who are least likely to be able to afford them. Colorado now ranks 8th in the nation as a state with the least affordable and available units, nearing Texas, Florida, and Delaware. And, while some progress has been made since 2017 when there were only 27 affordable and available rental homes were available per 100 compared with this year’s 30 units per 100 needed, Colorado’s population growth of 3.27% since 2017 indicates that the state’s housing market has failed to keep up with the housing needs of its residents.
Colorado continues to struggle with an affordable housing crisis in communities across the state, with the problem worsening each year,” said Alderman. “We must invest in the construction and preservation of affordable housing in Colorado as a state that continues to attract investors for luxury units, and to increase funding for vouchers so low income earners are able to continue to live and thrive in housing in the midst of an unpredictable and disastrous pandemic.”
For additional information, visit: https://nlihc.org/gap
About Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
The mission of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is to work collaboratively toward the prevention of homelessness and the creation of lasting solutions for people experiencing and at-risk of homelessness throughout Colorado. The Coalition advocates for and provides a continuum of housing and a variety of services to improve the health, well-being and stability of those it serves. Since its founding more than 30 years ago, the organization has earned state and national recognition for its integrated healthcare, housing and service programs. The Coalition’s comprehensive approach addresses the causes of homelessness, as well as the consequences, offering critical assistance to over 20,000 individuals and families each year. Learn more at www.coloradocoalition.org.