The Recession and Housing StabilityHousing & Homelessness Poverty & Family Economics
The recent recession will be remembered for the unprecedented rates of foreclosures building upon a pre-recession trend towards housing unaffordability (for both renters and buyers). Approximately 43 percent of families with children now report that they are struggling to afford stable housing. In 2008, nearly two out of every five renters spent 35 percent or more of their income on housing. Homeowners have also faced serious housing affordability issues, as evidenced by declining property values and the dramatic surge in foreclosures, particularly among families with subprime mortgages. Federal efforts aimed at stemming the number of foreclosures, and emergency homelessness prevention aid included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provide families with limited assistance. However, many supports are temporary and ARRA funds are slated to expire within the year.
Moving forward, as families attempt to recover from the economic downturn, providing access to safe, stable and affordable housing for those in need is critical. The federal government can do more for families and should provide much needed housing assistance to vulnerable children and families. Click here to read First Focus’ companion policy brief on housing stability, which considers the role of public programs in the process of economic recovery and provides recommendations for improving the provision of services to vulnerable children and families as we bounce back from the most recent recession.