(San Francisco Bay Area) A new report released today from the National Low Income Housing Coalition discusses the severe shortage of homes affordable to low-income households across the nation, highlighting a systemic national shortage of rental housing for extremely low-income households. The report also points to the racial disparities that exist among extremely low-income renters, a remnant of centuries of anti-black discrimination and other inequities that our Back and Brown neighbors continue to contend with today.
“Housing is the foundation for strong, thriving, and equitable communities,” said Amie Fishman, NPH Executive Director. “As a society, we all win when we prioritize healthier, thriving people, families, and communities. When we lose long standing communities through disinvestment and exclusionary policies, we lose what makes the Bay Area a great place to live — our diverse cultures and ethnicities, age groups, languages, backgrounds, family compositions, and more.”
The report also provides data that show Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian households are more likely than white households to be extremely low-income renters, owing to decades of disinvestment in communities of color along with racist and exclusionary housing policies that have systematically disadvantaged people of color.
“The Bay Area’s ethnically diverse residents, including our artists, help keep our diverse cultures alive, vibrant, and cherished in our communities,” said Ryan Nicole Austin, Eastside Arts Alliance. “And yet, too many of our artists and BIPOC (Black, Indigneous, and people of color) neighbors struggle to get by, due in large part to the shortage of housing that is accessible and affordable. The fact is that the region’s housing crisis disproportionately impacts our Black and Brown neighbors. We need tangible change now, before it’s too late for our Bay Area residents.”
With the report’s data coming from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2019, the pandemic’s effects are not reflected in the figures. COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout have no doubt worsened circumstances for low-income renters since then, resulting in even more job losses, evictions, and additional affordable housing shortages.
“Our current public health crisis demonstrates how necessary stable, affordable homes are for all of our health, and the importance of tackling racial inequities head on”, said Will Dominie, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative. “It is time to treat this challenge with the same urgency we’ve brought to the pandemic. We’ve diagnosed the issue; our lawmakers must begin treatment.”
The analysis underscores this unique moment’s calls for meaningful change in housing policy that can lead to housing and racial justice for all Bay Area residents, no matter their race or income. NPH recommended solutions include:
Yesenia Jameson, email@example.com
Alina Harway, firstname.lastname@example.org