An old couch in an abandoned building

5 Facts About the Housing Crisis that Sound too Absurd to be True

A small house with the text,

Millions of people nationwide struggle to pay their rent, and in many places only the privileged can afford to buy a home.

When housing costs eat up most of a person’s paycheck, they often have to make sacrifices, foregoing healthcare, education, and sometimes even food.

The nation’s lack of affordable housing perpetuates cycles of poverty and keeps millions from living to their full potential.

Since knowledge is power, we present these five facts about the affordable housing crisis.


A renter writing a rent check1. 1 in 4 renters pay half their income on rent.

One in four renters, or 11.2 million households, were “severely burdened by rents that took up over half their incomes,” according to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

When housing costs are this high, saving for a rainy day becomes impossible. People are forced to live paycheck to paycheck, hoping that an unexpected medical emergency doesn’t arise, hoping that their car doesn’t suddenly break down.



An old couch in an abandoned building2. Not one state has an adequate supply of affordable housing for the lowest-income renters

The Gap Report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition in 2019 found that “Only 36 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.”

This depressing statistic shows that there is a desperate need for more investment in affordable housing, not less.



A small house with an outdoor stove and firewood3. 2.6 million Americans are cost-burdened—pay 1/3 or more of their income in rent. 

Cities aren’t the only places where it’s difficult to find affordable housing; people living in rural areas struggle as well. Urban renters with seeing the same challenges to pay rent is only slightly higher than rural renters. It doesn’t look like the situation is going to get better any time soon. (source: The rent’s ‘too damn high’ in rural America, too)



An image of the Seattle skyline4. Rents are rising in cities that used to be more affordable.

The pandemic has changed a lot, and rental prices are one. This affects millions of Americans, especially those living with low incomes. During the summer of 2020, Memphis saw a rent increase of 8.3% ($1,396).




A room full of sleeping cots and sheets

5. There are roughly 40 million households in danger of becoming homeless.

Support like rent relief, federal unemployment benefits and other forms of direct stimulus can help keep families stabily housed. When people are in danger of losing their homes, they’re often delaying healthcare and other essential costs as well.




What can you do with this information? You can share it to spread awareness, donate to an affordable housing nonprofit, become an advocate, or all three!