Housing supply

Report Finds Insufficient Affordable Housing Supply in Delaware

The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a report released March 18 by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Housing Alliance Delaware, finds a national shortage of nearly 7 million affordable and available rental units for very low-income renter households. , those with incomes at or below the poverty line or 30% of the median income in their region.

The report shows that even before COVID-19 devastated many low-income households, they were already struggling to pay their rent.

Each year, the Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental housing available to very low-income families and individuals. In the 2020 report released by Housing Alliance Delaware, the organization said the creation of affordable housing in Delaware was not keeping pace with demand and that due to the COVID-19 economic crisis, demand was likely to increase in 2021. Now, three months into 2021, that prediction has already come true.

“Delaware is in a housing crisis,” said Rachel Stucker, executive director of Housing Alliance Delaware. “We need to respond immediately to the dire need for affordable housing.

In Delaware, there are 27,524 very low income households and a shortage of 19,915 affordable rental units. The result is only 28 affordable and available rental units for 100 very low-income households.

About 25% of very low-income renters — more than 6,800 households — in Delaware are heavily burdened with costs and at risk of homelessness. Without public subsidies, the private market does not provide an adequate supply of housing for low-income households. Government has a key role to play in correcting this market failure.

The crisis created by COVID-19 has made it clearer than ever that stable and affordable housing for all is an imperative for public health and individual well-being. When it became vital to maintain social distancing, many families — disproportionately people of color — struggled to stay at home.

As the Gap report shows, ending the long-term problem of housing affordability will require significant and sustained investment. A serious commitment to producing and preserving affordable housing is needed, as are stronger legal protections for Delaware renters.

Millions of dollars go to the state to provide rental assistance directly to landlords and tenants. No one should lose their home in 2021 due to an inability to pay their rent. Without sustained investments and continued protections, the lowest income tenants will continue to be a hair’s breadth away from displacement and homelessness.

For more information, visit nlihc.org or housingalliancede.org.