Affordable housing is a hot topic as of late, though it’s not to be mistaken with housing affordability, or housing that the bulk of an area’s residents can afford.
Affordable housing is a hot topic as of late, though it’s not to be mistaken with housing affordability, or housing that the bulk of an area’s residents can afford. No, affordable housing, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is housing that requires less than 30% of an occupant’s gross monthly income. And there’s a reason it’s a pressing issue.
Late in March, the Biden administration extended the federal eviction moratorium. This measure helped millions of families stay in their homes during the pandemic despite financial struggles. But with the extension’s end this summer and the U.S.’s ongoing shortage of affordable housing comes the need to discuss solutions for over 11 million extremely low-income families.
We have not always held the same standards for affordable housing. In the past, the topic of affordable housing referred to low-income, subsidized, or public housing. That’s since changed. Now, the dilemma of affordable housing affects every income level except the highest in the U.S. Essentially, this definition expanded to include any housing that allows homeowners to pay for their property on top of necessities, like health care or food.
The HUD defines housing affordability based on gross monthly income. This is the total amount the household brings in before deductions like taxes or expenses. So, according to the HUD, affordable housing for an individual, including utilities, cannot exceed 30% of that gross income.