NAHRO CEO on the 2020 State of the Nation’s Housing Report
Congratulations to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies on the release of their latest State of the Nation’s Housing report. NAHRO is proud to be a sponsor of this annual document, which takes a vital look how the pandemic and other factors have further exacerbated our nation’s failure to provide enough affordable housing for those in need.
The report shows what many NAHRO members are seeing on the ground and in their communities: that while some Federal support helped keep renters afloat, “the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the rental affordability crisis,” and that “federal funding has fallen far short of even holding the line on supporting cost-burdened families in need.” The pandemic has also disproportionately impacted renter households of color. In late September, 23 percent of Black, 20 percent of Hispanic, and 19 percent of Asian renters were behind on their rent, compared to 10 percent of white renters.
Even before the pandemic, the number of cost-burdened households was at a near-record high – 37.1 million in 2019, with a rising number of middle-class households being affected. Homelessness is also rising.
And as the need increases, the resources to help aren’t keeping pace. Significant cuts have been made to many vital HUD programs – including the public housing operating fund, which is down 19 percent – and increases in the voucher program generally reflect efforts to preserve existing affordable units.
NAHRO is also glad that the report emphasizes the direct relationship between housing and public health, which has grown even more apparent during this pandemic. In order to shelter at home, people need a home. In addition to increasing income inequality, the report also points out how persistent discriminatory practices and systemic inequality have limited housing opportunities for people of color, who have higher cost-burden rates, far lower homeownership rates, and account for a disproportionately large share of the homeless population.
NAHRO also agrees that we need a new national housing agenda, both to solve the current housing crisis and to keep the country on track for recovery. We need to better combine housing aid with other resources to help families thrive. And Congress must act to tackle housing insecurity, now, by providing needed rent relief…to do otherwise is irresponsible and disregards people who are suffering right now.
— Adrianne Todman, NAHRO CEO
NAHRO, which was established in 1933, is a membership organization of 19,000 housing and community development providers and professionals throughout the United States. NAHRO members create and manage affordable housing for low- and middle-income families and vibrant communities that enhance the quality of life for all; they administer more than 3 million homes for more than 7.9 million people.