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Affordable Housing – News, Policy, Research, and how it impacts our families

Our nation at-large is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. In Palm Beach County, many thousands of families are feeling the effects of the crisis, first hand.  At the national level, there are only 28 adequate, affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income (ELI) families, down from 37 only a decade prior – representing a 25% decline in available housing.

In Palm Beach County, this report outlined an even bleaker picture – finding only 18 affordable units per 100 ELI renter households, ranking among the worst nationally.

  • The report identified a shortage of more than 32,000 affordable units, county-wide (in Palm Beach County).

Note: Extremely low-income is defined as families earning no more than 30% of a region’s respective area median income.

See reference: Mapping America’s Rental Housing Crisis, Urban Institute, 2013.

Without exception, there is no county in the U.S. that has enough affordable housing. The crisis is national, and it is growing.” (National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), Out of Reach, 2016.) 

Affordable Housing Policy-Level and National Research 

  • The State Of The Nation’s Housing 2016. Joint Center For Housing Studies of Harvard University.
  • An Investment in Opportunity: A Bold New Vision for Housing Policy in the US. Enterprise Community Partners.
  • 2016 State of Florida Rental Market Study. Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. 
    • Key Finding:
      • More than 1,000,000 Florida renter households have incomes at or below 60 percent of AMI in 2016. Of these households, more than 750,000 (70 percent) are cost burdened.
      • 60% of cost burdened renter households live in large counties.
  • The Gap: The Affordable Housing Gap Analysis 2016. National Low Income Housing Coalition. 
    • Key Finding:
        • Nationally, there exists a shortage of more than 10 million affordable rental units for ELI and deeply low income (DLI) renter households. The affordability threshold is defined as a renter not paying more than 30% of income on housing and utility costs.
  • Out of Reach 2016: Florida. (Select Jurisdiction > Palm Beach County, for localized data)
    • State level:  Florida ranks #17th nationally in housing affordability, requiring a minimum-wage earner to work 79 hours/weekly to afford a modest 1-bedroom apartment.
      • This translates to needing an annual salary of $49,600 to afford a two-bedroom apartment, or $39,640 for a modest one-bedroom. Locally: Compared to Florida as whole, Palm Beach County ranks among the most expensive housing markets in the state, requiring a minimum-wage earner to work three FULL-TIME jobs to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.
      • The reality: ELI renter households in Palm Beach County are earning approximately $19,000 a year.
    • Note: See Out of Reach, 2016 for West Palm Beach area data, “Work Hours/Week at Minimum Wage.”

  • Family Homelessness Crisis is an Affordable Housing Crisis . The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. 
    • Our nation’s capital has helped to put the affordable housing crisis and its link to homelessness on the map. Excerpt from Councilmember Graham’s testimony during a DC Council’s Oversight Hearing on the Department of Human Services:
    •  “Instead, DC should make affordable housing the number one priority in all future development, invest in programs that purposely and efficiently produce deeply affordable hard stock units, and strengthen current programs meant to preserve existing affordable units.”

  • Florida State Officials Finalize $4.5 M Affordable Housing Plan. 

The Intersection of Housing and Health 

Affordable Housing Legislative Action — A Success Story in Oregon

  • Measure 26-179 – Bonds to fund affordable housing. 
    • The measure authorized $258 million in general obligation bonds for affordable housing for low income households. Bonds will be used to build new housing, purchase, rehabilitate existing housing to maintain affordability, prevent displacement, and allow residents to remain in their homes. Tax rate for this measure is estimated to be $0.4208 per $1,000 of assessed value. Bonds may be issued in multiple series. Annual audits required. Administrative costs cannot exceed seven percent.
    • The bond will cost about $75 per year, or $6.25 per month, for the owner of a home assessed at $178,230 (the average assessed value for Portland). This is $.4208/$1,000 of assessed value.
    • Most of bond funding is dedicated for extremely low-income people who are homeless or living on fixed incomes, including seniors and people with disabilities. 600 units will be for people in households that earn less than 30% of the median family income (about minimum wage). For a family of 4, that is $25,300 a year or $17,700 for a single person. The remaining units provide rental housing to people working in low or moderate wage jobs. A Community Oversight Committee will monitor the bond program to ensure low-income households continue to be served in Bond funded apartments.

(This post will be updated on a continuous basis).