On March 14, 2024 the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released its annual report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes. This year’s report finds that the lowest-income renters in the U.S. face a shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes. In Pennsylvania alone, the report finds a deficit of 265,537 homes available for families at or below extremely low income. This means only 41 homes are available for every 100 families at or below the threshold for extremely low income. While PA fares slightly better than some neighboring states, every state shows significant deficits on housing that is affordable for those with the lowest income.

The report explains that the private market cannot adequately serve renters with extremely low incomes and demonstrates that present funding for housing assistance is insufficient, creating a systemic national problem. Congress must make sustained investments in deeply income-targeted programs such as the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing to address this significant gap in affordable rental housing.

The report calls for greater federal investments in the preservation and expansion of the affordable housing stock, more Housing Choice Vouchers to bridge the gap between renters’ incomes and rent, and emergency assistance for renters who experience unexpected short-term financial shocks.

Download the Gap report at: https://nlihc.org/gap

The ELCA’s Social Message on Homelessness (1990) states, “Housing is a fundamental human right. The United States government has stated its commitment to the goal that all citizens have decent housing and a suitable living environment (Federal Housing Act of 1949). Yet the policies and practices of governmental and economic institutions are not adequately responding to the crisis…”

In response to our call to create just policies, especially on behalf of the vulnerable in society, LAMPa and ELCA Witness in Society advocate for changes to our housing policies at the state and federal level that can help close the gap in affordable housing. You can find an action alert for federal housing funding here, and can write your PA senators about bipartisan proposals to help the housing crisis in PA here.

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