HOLIDAYS REMIND US OF IMPORTANCE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
December 24th, 2012
Housing is expensive. In fact, after transportation and food, it is the third largest monthly expense for a family of three with one child. Across Mississippi, a family of three – two adults and one child – needs about $518 per month to access modest rental housing, and many families may need more to access housing, particularly in urban areas. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, federal rental assistance programs enable more than 61,493 low-income households in Mississippi to rent modest housing at an affordable cost.
Housing 3rd Largest Monthly Expense
Source: Basic Economic Security Tables For Mississippi, 2011
For thousands of Mississippi families, covering all their basic expenses, including housing, is a challenge. Covering rent can often force families to forego other basic needs. When families face an inability to cover rent, the result can be an unstable housing situation for both adults and children.
Funding for housing assistance comes in many different forms including vouchers for rent to low-income families and public housing where rent is tiered based on a family’s available income. Many of these programs have experienced substantial cuts over the last 2 years in the wake of budget negotiations that put caps on a pool of funds for discretionary federal programs.
From 2010 to 2012 $2.5 billion in housing assistance funds were cut on the federal level. These cuts affect the availability of funds for Mississippi’s low-income families that rely on housing support.
During this holiday season, we are reminded of the importance of programs that make safe and stable housing available and accessible to families here in Mississippi. As budget negotiations continue, it will be important that assistance programs are insulated from cuts, so families are protected from losing housing during a period of economic insecurity.Author: Sarah Welker, Policy Analyst