Housing represents the fundamental base-solution to the problem of homelessness, with the lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs contributing to the current housing crisis and to homelessness.
The U.S. did not always have such a dire lack of affordable housing. The 1970’s into the 1980’s saw drastic cuts to Federal affordable housing programs. Today, there is much focus on creating permanent supportive housing for people who chronically experience homelessness due to disability or health issues. But building affordable housing takes too long in most cities because of political foot-dragging, municipal agency delays, and the painstaking process of raising money from multiple sources. As a result, affordable housing is not being built at a pace fast enough to end homelessness.
While this is an issue that has an extensive history, since 2000 the incomes of low-income households have declined as rents continue to rise. However, the demand for assisted housing clearly exceeds the supply. The National Coalition for the Homeless and others urge Congress to include money for homelessness prevention and re-housing in any legislative response to the foreclosure crisis, and are also seeking to pass legislation that would help renters living in foreclosed properties to remain in their homes or transition smoothly to new housing.
Content courtesy NationalHomeless.org