By Dennis Archambault
With the domination of international, political, and sex scandal coverage in the news media (actual and “fake”), it’s difficult to get a reading on domestic U.S. human service policy. For example, what is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) up to?
HousingWire https://www.housingwire.com magazine offers a glimpse into what HUD Secretary Ben Carson may be up to with an interview in its current edition. Secretary Carson quantifies a problem that has been evident for some time – 11 million renter households in America are severely cost-burdened, spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing. There are nearly 500,000 homeless families and 40,000 homeless veterans. Carson noted that essentially, HUD’s response its Rental Assistance Demonstration https://www.hud.gov/RADprogram, which allows localities to leverage public and private funds to ensure that public housing units are maintained and improved. However, there doesn’t appear to be funding for new development.
There are 11.4 million extremely low income (ELI) renter households in the United States, about 26 percent of all U.S. renter households and nearly 10 percent of all households, according to a 2017 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Gap-Report_2017.pdf. The U.S. has a shortage of 7.4 million affordable and available rental homes for ELI renter households, resulting in 35 affordable and available units for every 100 ELI renter households.
Certainly, many of those households are in Detroit and scattered throughout Southeast Michigan. Yet there doesn’t appear to be any new housing units planned. With all the abandoned apartments in the city, and certainly the gaps in the built infrastructure of the city, there’s plenty of space to house folks. All we need is the political will to make it happen. That requires considerable hope.
Dennis Archambault is vice president, Public Affairs, for Authority Health.