NHPF-Authored Articles & Industry Reports

2. Redouble Efforts to Assist All Underserved Populations Overall, those participating in the survey contend that the policies and events of the past decade have negatively affected most renter populations. That said, those questioned felt some groups of renters have fared better than others. Respondents believe that veterans and older adults have had their needs at least adequately met, with average scores of 3.5 and 3.0, respectively, on a 5-point scale. Yet those were the only two groups receiving net positive scores. Programs for the formerly homeless and people with disabilities fall just shy of the adequate mark (averaging 2.9), but slightly above the results for people with low incomes in general (2.8). Those questioned felt that immigrants and formerly incarcerated individuals (2.0 each) have been especially poorly served by policies and programs enacted since 2008, followed by people living in rural areas (2.3).

AVERAGE RATING (1–5 SCALE)

Policies & Programs for Underserved Populations

Formerly homeless and people with disabilities

2.9

People with low incomes

2.8

People living in rural areas

2.3

Immigrants and formerly incarcerated individuals

2.0

It is worth noting that housing programs, unlike certain means-tested programs such as Medicare or food stamps, are not automatically available to every eligible person. As a result, there is often a significant delay between the time when a person needs help and when that assistance becomes available. This different treatment of housing relative to other components of the social safety net may explain the consistently low scores for the housing programs’ efficacy in reaching particularly vulnerable individuals. Looking forward, most respondents favored increased funding for voucher-based programs benefiting residents with low incomes, with larger amounts made available for people further down the income ladder. They also advocated for revisiting the income thresholds for various affordability programs, recognizing that even moderate-income households struggle to afford quality housing in certain parts of the country.

A Decade of Rental Housing Vulnerability

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