For Immediate Release
March 14, 2019
Vice President of Communications and Public Policy
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
The Affordable Housing Supply in Colorado is Insufficient,
Especially for Families with the Lowest Incomes
The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, finds a national shortage of nearly seven 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. There are just 37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI renter households nationwide. Seventy-one 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. “We see people every day on the brink of homelessness because they cannot find affordable housing for themselves and their families. In an increasingly expensive state, it is imperative that Colorado builds housing that is affordable and available as an antidote to people becoming homeless in the first place,” said Cathy Alderman, Vice President of Communications and Public Policy for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
In Colorado, there are 157,858 extremely low income households but only 43,787 affordable rental homes available to them. The result is a deficit of 72 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes, and 76 percent severely housing cost-burdened households at a high risk of homelessness in Colorado. Conversely, for people living at 100% of the area media 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.
Without public subsidies, the private market is virtually never able to produce new rental homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes. A widespread belief is that private-sector rental homes “filter down” to lower-income households as they age and as new properties are developed for higher-income households. But the filtering process rarely results in rental homes inexpensive enough for the lowest income renters to afford. When rents get too low to cover basic operating costs and maintenance, property owners in weak markets have an incentive to abandon the properties and those in strong markets to redevelop them to charge higher rents.
“The Gap shows in clear relief why we must significantly invest in federal programs targeted to make homes affordable for people with the lowest incomes,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “Congress must protect and expand programs like the national Housing Trust Fund, housing vouchers, public housing, and others that house the most vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, and low-wage families with children. We can end homelessness and housing poverty in America. All we need is the will.”
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 homeless 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 18,000 individuals and families each year. Learn more at www.coloradocoalition.org.