Reports + Articles


New Report Shows Oregon Lagging in Housing Available for People with the Lowest Incomes

A new issue of Housing Spotlight from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reports that Oregon ranks near the bottom of all states in rental housing available for people with the lowest incomes. The research brief uses data from the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) to examine the supply of rental housing units for households in a three different income categories, including extremely low income, defined as no more than 30% of the area median income. According to the report, Oregon has only 22 rental housing units affordable and available per 100 households with extremely low income, which ranks 46th out of 50. Consequently, 81% of Oregon households with extremely low incomes qualify as severely rent burdened, defined as paying more than 50% of their income toward rent and utilities, which also ranks 46th out of 50. Click here for the NLIHC report.

A unit qualifies as affordable if the rent and utility costs don’t exceed 30% of the household income, which is the generally accepted norm for affordability. A unit counts as available only if it is vacant or already houses a household at that income level, as many units affordable to a given income category are occupied with households in a higher income category.

The data for the report underscores the importance of current Preservation efforts in Oregon. The existence of project-based rental assistance at a property means that residents pay 30% of their income toward rent, with the federal government subsidizing the remainder, up to a fair market level. Most units with project-based rental assistance in Oregon are home to households with extremely low incomes, and in many communities that is the only housing affordable to those households. Unfortunately no housing production programs with current funding exclusively serve this population, so we see few new affordable and available units and steadily lose some current units due to contract opt-outs and terminations. At the same time, the number of renter households with extremely low income continues to increase, which it did by 200,000 nationally between 2009 and 2010, so the demand for existing units rises.

— Posted on 2/15/2012

Initial Reports on President’s FY13 Budget Request

Following the release today of the President’s FY13 budget request, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) issued an initial analysis that reveals a proposed cut of more than $600 million from the enacted FY12 funding level for the Project-Based Rental Assistance program. The President asked for $8.70 billion for the program that funds renewals of most project-based rental assistance contracts, down from the $9.43 billion requested for FY12 (Congress ultimately approved $9.34 billion).

The FY13 budget item for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program includes a request for $75 million (the same amount requested and enacted for FY12) in tenant protection voucher funding, which encompasses the enhanced vouchers offered to residents at properties with an owner opting out of the project-based Section 8 contract. Overall, the TBRA funding request, for which Housing Choice Voucher contract renewals account for the vast majority, represents a slight increase from FY12 enacted level. The President also asked for increased funding for HUD line items such as public housing operating and capital accounts, homeless assistance grants, and Section 202 grants, while requests for HOME and Community Development Block Grant funds were level with FY12.

The USDA Rural Development (RD) FY13 budget request included a zeroing out of the Section 515 program (direct loans for rental housing), but also featured a significant increase to the program designed to help preserve existing Section 515 properties, the Multi-Family Housing Revitalization Demonstration Program (MPR). In FY12, Congress funded MPR at $2 million after the President failed to include it in his budget request, yet for FY13 the President requested $34.4 million for the MPR. The request for the Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) program represents a nominal increase needed to fund all expiring contracts, but, just as in FY12, does not include a set-aside for Preservation properties. However, RD maintains the authority to establish such a reservation on its own.

The President’s FY13 budget request begins the appropriations cycle, acting as the jumping off point for the US House and Senate to draft appropriations bills with their own figures. More details will follow, but click here for NLIHC’s updated budget chart and click here for Housing Assistance Council’s preliminary analysis of the RD budget.

— Posted on 2/13/2012