NLIHC Participates in Release of State of the Nation’s Housing: 2009
WASHINGTON - NLIHC President Sheila
Crowley was among the speakers at today’s release of The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2009.
The annual report, by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University,
examines national trends related to both homeownership and rental housing. This
year’s report is set against the backdrop of the falling home prices,
rising foreclosures, and deepening recession that are gripping the country.
“Again this year, the Joint
Center on Housing Studies has
distilled the multitude of data sources that describe the housing circumstances
of people in the United
States and produced a volume that makes
sense of this complex, yet basic, element of economic and social life. With
housing front and center in the current economic turmoil, this report is more
important than ever,” Ms. Crowley said.
As expected, low income homeowners and renters are hit especially hard
in the current climate. The report finds that in 2007, the year for which the
most recent data exists, 51% of low income renters and 43% of low income owners
paid more than half their incomes for housing. The authors define low income as
being in the bottom quartile of the nation’s income distribution. Altogether,
17.9 million households were found to have spent more than half of their
incomes on housing, a 30% increase that the authors called
“unprecedented.” Households are considered cost-burdened when they
spend more than 30% of their incomes for housing, and severely cost-burdened
when they spend more than 50%.
“As the report clearly articulates, for those who are already
weighed down by unsustainable housing cost burdens, that is, the lowest income
people, the recession exacerbates the fragility of their housing. As
unemployment grows, so does poverty, and we know that one in 10 people in
poverty will become homeless,” Ms. Crowley said. “Homelessness is
what economists call a lagging indicator of a recession, and we will see more
homelessness as unemployment drags on. To the family who loses its home, it is
a severe trauma with lasting damage to the family’s emotional, physical
and financial well-being.”
Also speaking at the event were Nicolas P. Retsinas, Director, Eric S.
Belsky, Executive Director, and Daniel McCue, Research Analyst with the Joint Center
for Housing Studies; and Gary Garczynski, Chairman of the Board of Officers
& Executive Committee of the National Housing Endowment.
The report includes chapters on Housing Markets, Demographic Drivers,
Homeownership, Rental Housing, and Housing Challenges, as well as an appendix
of tables. The State of the Nation’s
Housing: 2009 is available at http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/
A video interview with Mr. Retsinas and other materials related to the
release are available at: http://www.youtube.com/user/