icon-search icon-programRelatedInvestments icon-missionRelatedInvestments icon-lowIncomeHousingTaxCredit icon-technology icon-placeBased icon-loanGuarantee icon-minority icon-equityInvestments icon-close calendar chevron-thin-up chevron-thin-down chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-youtube icon-caret icon-lock icon-star-in-circle heart-icon home-icon dashboard-icon messages-icon user-icon

Ending Homelessness, Reducing Poverty, Advancing Racial Equity and Economic Opportunity by Adopting Universal Housing Vouchers

A Public Health Crisis on Top of a Housing Crisis

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the United States had already been grappling with a severe and enduring affordable housing and homelessness crisis. On single night in 2020, about 580,000 people were experiencing homelessness, 226,000 of which were living on the street unsheltered. Homelessness had been increasing for four years. Homelessness is a symptom and an outcome of the affordable housing crisis. Nearly 11 million renter households were struggling, paying more than half their incomes toward this major household expense.  Many were on the edge of missing rent payments at risk for eviction. According to the Eviction Lab,4 landlords were filing nearly 3.7 million evictions annually.

But the rental crisis does not impact everyone equally. People of color are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Black people make up 12 percent of the population but 39 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness and 53 percent of people in families who experience homelessness. In comparison, white people are significantly underrepresented in these groups. The disparities continue across the housing continuum. Black households are more likely to be renters and are more likely to be rent burdened than white households.6 Black renters receive a disproportionate number of eviction filings, and Black Latinx female renters are also more likely to experience eviction than their male counterparts.7 These disparities exist largely because of a history of housing discrimination and segregation, which have locked people of color out of opportunities. 

Read more from the Urban Institute here>>>