Tilt Toward Well-Off Homeowners Leaves Struggling Low-Income Renters Without Help

The federal government spent $190 billion in 2015 to help Americans buy or rent homes, but little of that spending went to the families who struggle the most to afford housing.  As the charts below show, federal housing expenditures are unbalanced in two respects: they target a disproportionate share of subsidies on higher-income households and they favor homeownership over renting.  Lower-income renters are far likelier than homeowners or higher-income renters to pay very high shares of their income for housing and to experience problems such as homelessness, housing instability, and overcrowding.  Federal rental assistance is highly effective at helping these vulnerable families, but rental assistance programs are deeply underfunded and as a result reach only about one in four eligible households.

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