AdvocacyAddressing Housing Instability

Addressing Housing Instability

Housing instability disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic households, which leads to communities of color lacking stable and secure places to live. Some of the challenges include having difficulty paying rent, overcrowding, frequent moves, or spending the majority of household income on housing. Additionally, housing instability results in more cost burdened families, negative physical health and lack of mental wellness.

According to, housing instability can have serious negative impacts on individuals and families, including increased stress and anxiety, poorer health outcomes, and difficulty maintaining employment or attending school. It can also lead to homelessness, which can exacerbate these negative effects and create additional challenges for individuals trying to secure stable housing and rebuild their lives.

37.1 million households, including renters and owners, were cost burdened — of these, 17.6 million households were severely cost burdened.”

Housing instability also contributes to the digital divide. With broadband internet service not being approved for HUD’s utility allowance, it is difficult for low-income renters in federally assisted housing to afford a broadband subscription.

Pew’s brief looked at Department of Housing and Urban Development programs. These include Public Housing, Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. The lack of internet access is similar in other federally housing programs, including Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties and USDA Rural Rental Housing.

According to the Pew Report, housing subsidies administered by the federal government provide financial assistance to help low-income people pay rent. However, households may be on waitlists for several years before receiving assistance. Due to limited funds and the large number of households in need, only 26 percent of eligible households received federal housing subsidies in 2013. Further work is needed to explore potential strategies to reduce housing instability. More research is also needed to identify how to reduce the negative effects of housing instability on health outcomes and health disparities. This additional evidence will facilitate public health efforts to address housing instability as a social determinant of health.

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Association of Community Action Agencies (SEACAA)
Ensuring progress towards the elimination of poverty and its causes in the Southeastern US.