TX’s Poorest Renters Face Severe Housing Shortage

For Rent Sign
For Rent Sign | Image by Ksenia Ragozina/Shutterstock

The Lone Star State has a shortage of nearly 680,000 financially attainable rental homes for extremely low-income renters.

Housing attainability for Texas’ poorest residents is at an all-time low. Roughly 22% of renter households comprise “extremely low-income renters” (ELIRs), those with incomes below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income. Approximately 80% of the ELIRs are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing, per the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) 2024 annual report.

Not only are low-income individuals facing substantial cost burdens related to rent, but they are also facing stiff competition from others in similar financial positions.

Only 25 rental homes are actually classified as “affordable and available” for every 100 ELIR households in Texas.

This means that about one in four rental homes are considered financially attainable and available to rent to families in this financial bracket.

When severely cost-burdened ELIRs experience a financial disruption like a medical expense or car repair, it is more likely to see them sacrifice crucial necessities like food, according to Michael Depland, communication manager for Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, a nonprofit also known as Texas Housers.

“They’re having to choose rent over food” and “rent over medications,” said Depland, per KERA News. “These are things that extremely low-income renter households unfortunately have to face.”

With four out of five ELIR households spending the bulk of their income on rent, many are just one unexpected expense away from financial ruin.

“Imagine if you’re paying 70% or even 80% of your income for rent: If you have a disruption in that income or you have an unexpected expense, you fall behind on your rent. Then you’re suddenly in a situation where you’re losing your home,” said NLIHC Vice President Andrew Aurand, per KERA News.

Although most economic indicators suggest the U.S. economy is recovering, the coalition’s report states that the supply of financially attainable housing for the nation’s ELIRs remains deeply inadequate.

The Dallas Express contacted NLIHC for a statement but had not heard back by the time of publication.

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