Only About One Third Of Low Income Missourians In Need Receive Federal Rent Assistance

Within the last few days, STL Today published an article titled “The affordability crisis in the St Louis rental market“, based upon a study recently released by the Urban Institute, revealing that “there is literally no affordable, non-subsidized housing available to St. Louis low-income families.”  While the focus of the article was non-subsidized affordable rentals, it also discussed the increasing number of extra-low-income families forced to pay over 50% of their income on rent.  I was surprised to hear this as I know federal spending on assistance programs has increased significantly over the last decade and I keep hearing that the economy is improving, unemployment is down, etc, so I would have expected a better report.  This prompted me to look into it a little further.

Missouri’s Low-Income Families and Rental Housing-

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According to a report published by the  Center on budget and Policy Priorities:

  • 96,000 low-income households in Missouri received federal rental assistance
    • Nearly two-thirds of those (64%) have extremely lown incomes (30% of area median income or less)
  • Nearly all of the households (90%) receiving assistance had children, were elderly or disabled (see chart below)
  • 70% of the households receiving HUD rental assistance in Missouri that were not elderly or disabled, worked, had worked recently or were subject to work requirements through another program
  • 21% of the rental assistance in Missouri went to households in rural, or non-metropolitan, areas
  • $517,000,000 in federal rental assistance funding came into Missouri in 2014
  • 165,100 Missouri low-income households pay more than half their income for rent
    • This is 16 percent more than before the recession (see chart below)
  • 7,282 people in Missouri were homeless or living in shelters in 2014.
    • 652 of which are veterans
    • 2,975 of which are families with children
Chart showing make up of households receiving federal rental assistance

Source: Center on budget and Policy Priorities

More Low Income Missouri Renters are paying over half their incomes for housing than before the recession - chart

Source: Center on budget and Policy Priorities


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