Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. 2.3 Assisted and Affordable Rental Subsidy Programs as a Resource for Homeless Parents Who Need Mainstream Permanent Affordable Housing


There is less information about the rate at which HOME and LIHTC units turn over than there is about the assisted housing programs. It is likely that affordable housing units turn over at a more rapid rate than assisted housing units because they are less likely to represent a unique opportunity for the households occupying them to live in units they can afford. With flat rents at 15 or 18 percent of area median income, HOME and LIHTC units often are in competition with other moderately rental priced housing in the same area, and residents of housing with flat rents may have incomes at a level that makes it possible for them to buy moderately priced homeownership units. Typical market rate rental housing turns over at about 50 percent per year, but this includes many childless households with very high mobility rates. If it is assumed that a 25-percent turnover rate—higher than assisted housing but substantially lower than for all types of households in market rate rental housing—there are 30,000 multiple bedroom units in HOME rental developments and 220,000 units in LIHTC developments that become available each year for occupancy by new families. In addition, these programs have current pipelines that are likely to include 66,000 units of multiple bedroom rental housing (HOME) and 120,000 units (LIHTC). At current budget levels, there will be further annual increments of 15,000 HOME units and 60,000 LIHTC units (Exhibit 5).

It is not appropriate to add together assisted housing units, HOME rental development units, and LIHTC units, because many HOME and LIHTC units are also assisted housing units (residents use vouchers or the units also have project-based Section 8 subsidies). In addition, HOME and LIHTC often are used for the same developments and units.

Exhibit 6 provides the order-of magnitude estimates of the total units of assisted and affordable rental housing that have multiple bedrooms and that might be available to parents leaving homelessness. The estimates for affordable housing do not include units that have housing assistance, and they do not double count units that have both LIHTC and HOME subsidies.11 Based on turnover of rental units already placed in service and of current voucher slots, there are 721,000 units each year that might be used by families with children attempting to leave homelessness for mainstream permanent housing.


Total units

Annual turnover units

Exhibit 6:
Total units of assisted and affordable housing with two or more bedrooms, 2004

Assisted housing (Exhibit 3)



Affordable housing



Total HOME plus LIHTC (Exhibit 5)



Minus HOME units with LIHTC/rental assistance



Minus other LIHTC units with rental assistance



Net affordable housing



Total assisted and affordable housing 3,447,000 721,000

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