The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Renee Willis, Vice President for Field and Communications,,Ph.,202-662-1530 x. 247

Study Finds That Rents for Modest Studio and 1-Bedroom Housing Units Are Higher Than Monthly Income or People With Disabilities

TAC and CCD Housing Task Force release new study documenting extreme housing affordability crisis for the most vulnerable people with disabilities


Across the United States in 2008, people with
disabilities with the lowest incomes faced an extreme housing affordability
crisis as rents for moderately priced studio and one-bedroom apartments soared
above their entire monthly income. The national average rent for a one-bedroom
unit climbed to $749 per month in 2008 - higher than $667, the average monthly
income of over 4 million people with disabilities.

These shocking statistics are some
of the important findings included in Priced
Out in 2008
- a study of the severe housing affordability
problems of people with disabilities who must survive on incomes far below the
federal poverty line. The study compares the federal Supplemental Security Income
(SSI) payments of people with serious and long-term disabilities to U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Market Rents for modestly
priced rental units. Priced Out
is published every two years by the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC)
and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force to
shine a spotlight on our nation's most compelling - and least
understood - housing affordability crisis.

In 2008, 219 housing market areas
across 41 states had modest one-bedroom rents that exceeded 100 percent of
monthly SSI, including 25 communities with rents over 150 percent. Between
2006-2008, the number of market areas with modest rents higher than SSI rose
from 164 to 219 - a 34 percent increase. For the first time, there were 3
housing market areas - Honolulu (HI), Columbia City (MD), and Nantucket
County (MA) - where SSI recipients needed to spend over 200 percent of
their income for a modest 1-bedroom housing unit - not only an
impossibility, but absurd.

Perhaps the most shocking
revelation in Priced Out in 2008
is the precipitous and relentless decline in housing affordability for SSI
recipients since 1998 when the first edition of Priced Out was developed. The amount of monthly SSI income
needed to rent a modest one-bedroom unit has risen an astonishing 62 percent from
69 percent of SSI in 1998 to 112.1 percent of SSI in 2008. The root cause of
the nation's most severe - and most hidden - housing crisis
is clearly revealed in the painful statistics included in the 2008 edition of Priced Out.

As stated by Congressman Barney
Frank in the Foreword to Priced Out,
"The lack of adequate housing is a serious obstacle to a decent life for
anyone. It can be particularly troublesome for people dealing with
disabilities, for whom the physical and emotional stress of a lack of decent
shelter are added burdens for people already doing their best to deal with

Discretionary state SSI
supplements provided by states are not the solution to the housing
affordability problems experienced by people with disabilities living on SSI
payments. Even in the State of Alaska - which had the highest state SSI
supplement in 2008 of $362 and a total monthly SSI payment of $999 -
people with disabilities receiving SSI still needed to pay 80.6 percent of
their monthly income to rent a modest one-bedroom unit.

While some progress has been made
by Federal officials responding to creating additional affordable housing
resources, a bolder action is essential to inaugurate a new era in housing
policy that places the housing needs of people with disabilities within the
mainstream of national housing policy. TAC and the CCD Housing Task Force urge
the federal government to take the following actions:

  • Enact Section 811 legislation
    that will create at least 5,000 new units of permanent supportive housing each
  • Provide 10,000 new Housing Choice
    Vouchers for People with Disabilities in HUD's annual budget.
  • Support the
    Administration's proposal to appropriate at least $1 billion in funding
    for the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
  • Remove Barriers to Permanent
    Supportive Housing in the LIHTC Program.
  • Facilitate a Coordinated
    Disability Housing Policy Across the Federal Government.
  • Reinvigorate Fair Housing

By implementing these
recommendations, the federal government will send a powerful message of
inclusion to state and local communities, along with the housing resources
necessary to finally begin to achieve the vision of community integration for
people with disabilities first articulated almost 20 years ago through the ADA.

A copy of Priced Out in 2008 can be found online at For
more information about Priced Out,
please contact Emily Cooper at
or (617) 266-5657 x123.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America's affordable housing crisis. Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides up-to-date information, formulates policy and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.