In the next five years, roughly 8,000 affordable housing units in Missouri may no longer be affordable.
The state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program gives incentives to developers to build new housing for low-income families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
Units are required to remain affordable for 30 years, after which developers have options. They can keep the rent low, raise it to market value or sell the property.
Wayne Crawford, executive director of the Missouri Inclusive Housing Development Project, known as “Mo-Housing,” said it can mean renters who rely on those units will have to pick up and find somewhere new to live.
“If nothing changes, in the next 10 years, you’re going to have a projected loss of 19,260 properties that are going to go out of the affordable housing market,” Crawford projected. “That’s 19,260 people and/or families that are going to lose their homes.”
Crawford contended a dialogue is needed between the affordable housing development community, the developers who use the tax credits, the Missouri Housing Development Commission, community leaders, and legislators, to keep successful renters from possibly becoming homeless. In Missouri, there is already a shortage of more than 120,000 affordable homes.
Crawford added the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has proven to be a successful program, but he pointed out that unless steps are taken now, many of the renters who benefit from it will be at risk again.
“When the home you have been successfully living in for decades is sold, or your rent triples due to fair market values, we are throwing people who have developed a successful life back on the streets,” Crawford stated. “These people do not have the necessary advocates and lawyers to understand their rights. They simply leave.”
Some 65% of extremely low-income Missourians pay more than half their income on rent, and more than a quarter of Missourians with disabilities have incomes below the federal poverty line.
Missouri News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.