- Sara Kimberlin, Laura Tach, and Christopher Wimer
- Special Issue 2017
- Link to foc333h (PDF)
- Link to foc333sup (PDF)
The affordability of housing in the United States is a major issue for those with incomes too low to accommodate rising rents. In 2015, half of all renters had housing costs that exceeded 30 percent of family income, meeting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s standard for “housing-cost burdened.” Further, half of those who were housing-cost burdened were considered severely burdened, with housing costs exceeding 50 percent of family income. Low-income families are disproportionately likely to face housing costs that present such burdens. While there are federal subsidy programs that are intended to defray housing costs, these programs are insufficient and inequitable. We propose a refundable tax credit for renters that would reach a much broader segment of the population than existing programs; reflect geographic variation in housing costs; lift some families out of poverty; and substantially reduce the poverty gap for other families.