October 27, 2022– Rents have increased over the last two years at a historic rate. Between December 2017 and September 2022, the median rent for newly leased units rose nearly 32 percent, with nearly all of that increase occurring in 2021 and 2022.[1] (See Figure 1.) These higher rents are especially hard for families with the lowest incomes to absorb. Closing the housing affordability gap will require a comprehensive housing strategy, including developing new units, preserving existing affordable housing, and expanding rental assistance. Expanding the Housing Choice Voucher program, as the 2023 House-passed Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding bill calls for, would most immediately help renters absorb cost increases. Such an expansion would help reach renters with the lowest incomes.

Over the long term, lawmakers should enact major additional rental assistance expansions, with the goal of making assistance available to everyone who is eligible. Rental assistance provided directly to tenants gives people more choice of where to live and the opportunity to reduce segregation of people with low incomes, can also be project-based to support new affordable housing units.

To read the full publication by Peggy Baily at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, visit here.