Report: More Poor Families Spend Majority Of Income On Rent

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 9:35am


A federal report found the number of poor families who pay more than half their income to rent each month is on the rise.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines those with “worst case housing needs” as households earning less than half the median income, paying the majority of the income to rent and or living in substandard housing. These families do not receive income assistance.

There were 8.3 million households in this category in 2015, an increase from of about 580,000 households in 2013.

The report found that 124,000 Phoenix-area households in this vulnerable population. 

“We are seeing huge wait lists for all of our programs,” Phoenix Housing Director Cindy Stotler said.

One example?

Stotler said when the city opened the Section 8 voucher wait list last year, about 35,000 people applied for the chance to be one of 10,000 added to the waitlist. It was the first opportunity to join the wait list in more than a decade.

The city is also working to provide more affordable and public-housing options, which rely on federal dollars.

Phoenix recently completed the third phase of the Aeroterra project, which converted 138 units of public housing built half a century ago  into 258 units of mixed-income and affordable housing.

The city of Tempe last fall broke ground on Valor on Eighth. The 50-apartment complex will rent at least 51 percent of its apartments to low-income people with a preference for veterans.

The project is partially supported by $10.6 million in federal low-income housing tax credits.

“If they increased those funds, instead of decreasing, which is proposed, they could build more affordable housing,” Stotler said. 

President Donald Trump’s budget proposes slashing $6 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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