The Causes of Housing Cost Burdens

by | Nov 17, 2016

In a recent post for the Housing Association for Non-Profit Developers (HAND), Dr. Lisa Sturtevant writes about households who are facing cost burdens in D.C. and the surrounding region. According to recent American Community Survey (ACS) data, more than 20 percent of households in D.C. are severely cost burdened, meaning they pay more than 50 percent of their income toward housing.

Because income is the single biggest factor causing cost burdens, it is not surprising to learn that our most vulnerable populations are facing the highest rate of cost burdens, including seniors who are 85 and older and disabled adults. Dr. Sturtevant writes that “Single-parent families and immigrant households are also disproportionately cost burdened, with rates of severe cost burden of 32.2 percent and 25.3 percent, respectively.”

While increasing incomes can certainly help reduce cost burdens, there are strong concerns that rising incomes can put additional price pressures on housing that can erase gains in disposable income. In her post, she calls for the workforce development community to work closely with the housing community to advocate for a coordinated effort to increase both incomes and housing supply in order to translate to real economic growth.