This chart shows why $270 billion in housing aid hasn’t solved homelessness

September 4, 2013

Will Fischer, a housing expert at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, notes that in 2012 we spent about $270 billion in federal money subsidizing housing. Most of that didn't go to the poor.

The part of this picture that gets the most attention usually is how heavily weighted upper-income subsidies are toward homeownership at the expense of renting. But  more important is that households making over $100,000 a year — who represent less than 1 percent of households with severe cost burdens — get about 57 percent of the benefits from the programs included in the above chart. Our housing policy isn't just heavily biased against renters. It's hugely regressive too.

For policy ideas that have the potential of actually ending family homelessness, this report from the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the National Alliance to End Homelessness on "rapid re-housing" programs is a great place to start.

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Lydia DePillis | September 4, 2013