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Thresholds of Rent Affordability Trigger Homelessness

New research reveals details of when and where rising rents trigger homelessness.
December 12, 2018, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Daniel Arauz

Chris Glynn and Alexander Casey share news of new analysis from Zillow Research that identifies overlap in communities where residents pay more than a third of their income from rent and growing homelessness.

Communities where people spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent can expect a more rapid increase in homelessness, according to new Zillow-sponsored research on the size and root causes of the nation’s homelessness challenge. 

While this isn't the first time rising rents have been tied to homelessness, this new research "demonstrates that the homeless population climbs faster when rent affordability – the share of income people spend on rent – crosses certain thresholds."

"In many areas beyond those thresholds, even modest rent increases can push thousands more Americans into homelessness," according to Glynn and Casey.

Here are the specifics on those findings:

The new research found two rent affordability thresholds that directly affect homelessness. The first threshold is 22 percent: Any uptick in a community’s rent affordability beyond 22 percent translates into more people experiencing homelessness. The second threshold is 32 percent: Any increase in rent affordability beyond 32 percent leads to a faster-rising rate of homelessness – which could mean a homelessness crisis, unless there are mitigating factors within a community.

The article includes a lot more detail on the analysis and those findings, adding as well some geographic specificity about where these challenges are most acute. The article concludes with some preliminary sketches on policy recommendations.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 in Zillow Research
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