Low Income Renters Face Scarce Housing Options

May 13, 2016 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Affordable Housing, Rental Housing

A recent National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) report revealed that only 31 affordable units exist for every 100 extremely low income households, painting a dire picture for our nation's poorest renters. In Texas, there are 24 affordable units for every 100 such households.

Extremely low income households earn 30 percent or below the median income in their area, and an affordable rent amount is considered no more than 30 percent of household income going towards housing.

Andrew Aurand, vice president for research at NLIHC, laid out the harsh reality many of these households face stating, "Millions of people in America are living in unaffordable rental homes. They are forced to cut their spending on food, transportation, and health to pay rent."

National Housing Trust Fund

The report highlights one source of help on the horizon for low income renters, the National Housing Trust Fund. This dedicated source of new federal funding available beginning this year will send nearly $4.8 million to Texas, and the bulk of it must be used for rental housing for extremely low income households (90% of funds must be used for rental housing, and 75% of those rental funds must be used for extremely low income households).

This injection of capital is a relief for housing advocates who maintain this is one problem we can build our way out of if given the resources. And in addition to addressing one of the nation’s greatest housing needs, the NLIHC report suggests that the benefits of housing extremely low income households will spread to households at other incomes as well.

It concludes by stating, "Expanding the supply of affordable rental housing allows [extremely low income] households to move out of their unaffordable housing, making these units available to other income groups. Simply put, federal housing policy that targets the most critical housing needs will produce net benefits for everyone." 

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.



Hello Shereen,

Here are a few ways to find the help you need:

1. Dial 2-1-1 for immediate assistance.

2. Here is the link that may provide assistance for utility help, homelessness, rent assistance, etc.:  https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/texans.htm

3. Here is a link to search for all affordable rentals in Texas:

      TDHCA Vacancy Clearinghouse: 

4. City of Austin (Travis county only): RENT (Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants ) program:  http://www.austintexas.gov/rent

Contact the RENT Assistance Program by calling (512)-488-1397, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  You may also email any questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

5. State-wide assistance: Texas Rent Relief program https://texasrentrelief.com/ Toll Free: 833-989-7368

6. The Texas Housing Support Line (1-855-802-0014 - https://www.texas.gov/texas-housing-assistance/) is a call/chat line that helps to connect Texans with non-emergency housing services.


Please I’m trying to get work , I need to leave within one month.
In Austin Tx how to get help for renting or housing?

Julie Gunter

Thank you TSAHC for sharing this report and putting the spotlight on the need for affordable housing in Texas. This is not only a crisis in our cities, it is also a critical need in our non-metro areas. I believe having a safe, affordable home is the basis all households need to thrive, stay healthy, educate our children and save for retirement. Texas used to enjoy a reputation for being an affordable place to live. That was a strength for our economy. I hope those days aren’t gone for good.

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