Panel: Investigating Housing Costs and Shelter Poverty: Measurement and Ramifications
(Housing, Community Development, and Urban Policy)

Friday, November 9, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Jackson - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Jill Khadduri, Abt Associates, Inc.
Discussants:  C. Scott Holupka, Johns Hopkins University and George Engelhard, University of Georgia

Unaffordable Housing and Food Insecurity: Modeling Effects of Residual Income and Shelter Poverty with Mediation By SNAP
Barry Steffen1, George Carter1 and Alisha Coleman-Jensen2, (1)U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (2)U.S. Department of Agriculture

Towards Implementation of a National Housing Insecurity Research Module
Nicole Elsasser Watson and George Carter, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The presentations in this panel relate to measuring and understanding the ramifications of shelter poverty, an extension of the concept of housing cost burden that focuses on the combination of high housing costs with low household incomes associated with risk of basic needs deprivation. Between 2001 and 2015, the proportion of households expending more than half of income for housing (known as severe housing cost burdens) increased from 19.0 to 25.0 percent among renters and from 9.6 to 10.5 percent among homeowners. Additionally, in 2015 only 38 affordable and available rental units existed for every 100 renter households having incomes below 30 percent of area median income,* leaving many poor renters to compete for unaffordable units. As a result, rates of severe cost burden are markedly higher among lower-income households already at greater risk of falling short on resources to meet basic needs. The interaction of housing costs and income, therefore, makes income-scaled affordability concepts such as shelter poverty--advanced by Michael Stone over several decades--important conceptual tools for measuring the extent of housing affordability problems, for relating such problems to other aspects of material insufficiency, and for assessing the impacts of the growing affordable housing gap. This panel will discuss alternative methods of operationalizing the concept of shelter poverty and how improved measures may impact estimates of hardship and expand our understanding of deprivation.

* See Watson, et al. 2017. “Worst Case Housing Needs: 2017 Report to Congress.” Washington, DC: U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development.