Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



American cities are facing an affordable housing crisis. While the housing situation varies among U.S. cities, there is a national crisis (Stein, 2018). In March, 2018, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)( issued its report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Housing which reported a shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rentals for extremely low-income renter households. 71% of the lowest income renters are severely house cost-burdened, spending more than half of their limited incomes on housing. The report identified the following five cities as having the most severe shortages of affordable housing: Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas (Holder, 2018). In June, 2018, the NLIHC issued its Out of Reach 2018: the High Cost of Housing report. It showed that on average a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn $22.10 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent and $17.90 for a modest one-bedroom apartment.

In addition to these data, a homeless crisis exists in some cities, most notably New York city and some of the major cities on the West coast, e.g., Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle. In 2017 according to HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, homelessness increased for the first time in seven years for a total one-time count of 553,742 living in emergency shelters or transitional housing or were not sheltered at all (Gaitan, 2018). According to the 2018 annual Menino Survey of Mayors (, more than half of the mayors who responded said that high housing costs are the main reason people are moving out of their cities. Just 13 percent of the mayors said that they believe their city’s housing stock meets the needs of local residents (Zezima, 2018). In January, 2018, a Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment ( organization was launched to find innovative ways to fund affordable housing (Walker, 2018). It joins other affordable housing advocacy organizations like the NLIHC and the National Coalition for the Homeless ( and the national organizations representing cities (National League of Cities) and their mayors (U.S. Conference of Mayors).


This paper was presented at the ACSP 2018 Annual Conference in Buffalo, New York.