Without the cash and non-cash income provided by programs such as Social Security, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and the Earned Income Tax Credit:
- The share of Americans below the poverty line in 2004 ($19,307 for a family of four) would have more than doubled, from 13.5 percent to 29 percent. That is, 45 million more Americans would have been poor.
- The share of Americans in “deep poverty,” with incomes below half the poverty line, would have more than tripled, to 21 percent.
- The share of Americans who are poor or near-poor, with incomes below one-and-a-half-times the poverty line, would have risen to about 40 percent.
Today the National Low Income Housing Coalition released it’s 2011 report Out of Reach, detailing the costs of rental housing when compared with wages and work hours in each United States district and state.
Looking at these numbers together, the lack of affordable housing in each area of the country can be staggering. And, coming at a time when assistance for housing has been cut significantly, demand for housing has increased while the stock of affordable housing has not.
For example, these statistics for persons earning minimum wage in different states make it clear that a 2-bedroom apartment at fair market rate is far from affordable:
- In Indiana this person would have to work 76 hours per week.
- In Pennsylvania, 89 hours per week.
- In California, 131 hours per week.
- In Kansas, 73 hours per week.
- In Ohio, 73 hours per week.
- In Virginia, 108 hours per week.
As Congress and the President continue to debate what the federal budget should and shouldn’t look like, the MCC Washington Office continues to advocate for protection and investment in programs which address poverty and assist families with low incomes. Starting with affordable housing, we’ll blog on how the federal budget affects issues that are important to MCC in the United States and internationally.
Affordable housing sees significant cuts in each of the budget proposals out there. Here are some basic numbers and impacts for what the budget means for affordable housing:
Early Saturday February 19 the House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1)
that would cut federal spending by $61 billion. The cuts come mainly in programs dedicated to assistance for vulnerable populations in the U.S. and internationally.
You can let your Senators know that this approach to the budget is neither responsible nor just.
Together, these two areas of the budget represent just 15 percent of U.S. spending. Although the same legislation requests a defense budget 3 percent lower than the President’s 2011 request, it is still $8 billion higher than 2010 levels. Defense spending represents over 50 percent of U.S. discretionary (not mandatory) spending.
The math is questionable: how can we address the deficit without addressing the most expensive portion of the budget? Even beyond military spending, H.R. 1 fails to adequately address a number of root causes of the nation’s deficit.