Proposals to Address America’s Rental Housing Crisis for the Democratic National Committee’s 2016 Policy Platform
The DNC’s 2016 Platform will be delivered at a crucial moment. In communities across the country, wages have stagnated for most workers while rents have steadily risen, resulting in an unprecedented affordable housing crisis. Today more than one in four families who rent their homes – 11.4 million households in total – are “housing insecure,” meaning they pay at least half of their monthly income on
As a result, too often America’s renters are faced with impossible tradeoffs – pay rent or buy groceries, pay the electric bill or put gas in the car – with profound impacts on their long-term health and economic prospects. Many have no choice but to live in neighborhoods with rampant crime, scarce jobs, failing schools and substandard housing. And others are just one unforeseen event – a layoff, an unexpected healthcare bill, even a drop of hours at work – from seeing an eviction notice on their front door.
Absent meaningful changes to public policy, we expect the crisis to get significantly worse in the years to come. According to projections from Enterprise and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, even if rent growth matches income growth, the number of housing insecure renters is expected to increase by about 1.3 million households over the next decade – an increase of over 10 percent.