May 07, 2019
National Rental Home Shortage Leads to Increase in Homelessness
According to The 2018 Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 2018 saw a 0.3 percent increase in homelessness from the previous year, a troubling change in the trend that began in 2010, when homelessness began to drop in the United States, finally reaching an overall decline of 13.2 percent.
Naturally, one would expect homelessness to go down as the nation recovered from the worst housing crisis in a generation. But this new shift upward—for the second year in a row—may indicate that we have leveled-out in our gains on the homelessness front at this point; the only hope may be that this does not become a strong trend in the opposite direction.
The report reveals that on a given night in January 2018, there were around 552,830 people experiencing the deprivations of homelessness in the United States. Among this set of people, around 30 percent of the total (approaching 160,000) were children and youth. Nearly 40 percent of the total were women and girls (around 216,000). And nearly 9 percent of our veterans were homeless in 2018—though this population in particular has seen a drop in homelessness due to dedicated funding increases aiming to alleviate its numbers.
One of the key elements apparently contributing to the down-turned tide on homelessness is what some see as a rising crisis in the nation’s rental home inventory. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s claim is that there is a 7.2 million plus shortage of rental homes that might be available to the lowest echelon of renter households. 71 percent of those at the low end of renter households use more than half of their income on rent and utilities.
Part of the solution may be for altruism-minded investors to purchase homes and make them available to renters at reasonable rates—perhaps reserving them for the lowest income individuals.
Here at Topouzis & Associates, P.C., we do extensive title search work and perform curative services on every form of residential property, so that a buyer or investor knows they are getting into a home with clear title. Contact us if you have any questions or if you would like our considerable experience in dealing with the particularities of the real estate system.