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POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

President’s Budget Would Provide More Vouchers to Help Families With Rising Housing Costs

President Biden’s 2023 budget proposes to expand and strengthen the Housing Choice Voucher program, the nation’s most important source of assistance to help people with low incomes afford safe, stable housing. The budget would provide housing vouchers to 200,000 additional households and make other improvements to enable the program to assist families more efficiently and effectively.

Today, vouchers help 2.3 million households cover rent and utility costs for modest housing of their choice in the private market. Research shows that vouchers are highly effective at reducing homelessness, overcrowding, and housing instability, but due to inadequate funding only 1 in 4 households eligible for a voucher receives any form of federal rental assistance (see figure).

President Biden has called for the voucher program ultimately to be extended to all eligible households both during the 2020 campaign and in 2021 as President. The 200,000 new vouchers included in his budget would take an important step toward that goal. The proposal would allow the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to institute program rules to ensure that a substantial portion of the new vouchers reach people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This is an urgent goal since on a single night in January 2020 — the most recent national data available — more than 580,000 people experienced homelessness and the number of people living in tents and other unsheltered settings increased for the fifth consecutive year.

We estimate that the new vouchers would help over 430,000 people (in 200,000 households) in every state live in safe, stable housing, including 240,000 children, 76,000 people with disabilities, and 53,000 older adults. (See Table 1.) The vouchers would assist people of every race and ethnicity, with people of color accounting for 63 percent of those assisted. (See Table 2.) This reflects the fact that households of color are disproportionately likely to experience high rent burdens, overcrowding, evictions, and homelessness. The vouchers would help people in a wide range of communities: 36 percent of vouchers today are used in suburban areas and 11 percent in rural areas.

Rent and utility costs have increased sharply in recent months, and the voucher program is well-suited to deliver large-scale rental assistance to families during this period of rising costs. Emergency rental assistance funded through pandemic relief legislation has helped many renters hold on to their homes, but those funds are on pace to be largely exhausted nationally by the end of 2022 and some states and localities have already closed their programs to new applicants. The need for rental assistance, however, is likely to remain high, leaving many people at risk of eviction and homelessness. This makes it even more crucial that lawmakers provide more vouchers in 2023 and beyond.

The tight housing market has made it harder for renters — including those with vouchers — to find units they can rent. Nonetheless, state and local housing agencies have managed to put nearly all of the voucher funds they’ve received to use helping people in need — 96.2 percent on average in 2021 and 98.7 percent in early 2022, according to HUD data. (This excludes agencies participating in the Moving to Work demonstration, which allows them to shift funds from the voucher program to other purposes.) That figure has been even higher historically, averaging 99.9 percent from 2011-2020.

The President’s budget includes several proposals to help ensure that the voucher program fully uses available resources and to improve its effectiveness in other ways:

  • It would provide $445 million for housing counseling, landlord outreach, and other services to help families with vouchers access a wider range of neighborhoods. Research shows that these services can be highly effective at helping families move to “high-opportunity” neighborhoods (such as those with high-performing schools) if they wish to do so, and that such moves can have strong positive effects on children’s chances of attending college and their adult earnings.
  • It proposes to give HUD added authority to reallocate unused vouchers and voucher funds from housing agencies that aren’t using them to other agencies that are fully using their funds, with a preference for agencies that are located nearby. Hundreds of state and local housing agencies have used all of the voucher funding they’ve received during 2021 and early 2022 and could promptly use additional resources to help people in need.
  • It would increase administrative funding for state and local voucher agencies by $603 million, a step that — together with a planned review of the formula for allocating those funds among agencies — would ensure that they have adequate funds to operate their programs effectively.
TABLE 1
Estimated Number of Households and People Assisted Through Housing Voucher Expansion Proposed in the President’s FY 2023 Budget, by State
State Households People Female Children (Under 18) People With Disabilities Older Adults (62 and older)  
Alabama 1,800 3,900 2,300 1,300 700 300  
Alaska 500 1,100 600 400 200 100  
Arizona 3,800 8,300 4,500 2,800 1,300 900  
Arkansas 1,200 2,600 1,500 900 600 200  
California 43,700 94,500 51,400 30,500 12,800 11,400  
Colorado 3,300 7,200 3,900 2,100 1,200 800  
Connecticut 1,700 3,600 2,100 1,200 700 500  
Delaware 400 900 500 300 100 100  
District of Columbia 1,500 3,200 1,800 900 600 400  
Florida 11,000 23,800 13,400 7,500 3,800 3,300  
Georgia 4,700 10,200 5,900 3,700 1,600 900  
Hawai’i 1,600 3,400 1,800 1,100 500 500  
Idaho 800 1,700 900 500 400 200  
Illinois 5,700 12,200 7,000 3,900 2,000 1,500  
Indiana 2,700 5,800 3,300 1,900 1,200 600  
Iowa 1,200 2,600 1,500 700 500 300  
Kansas 1,100 2,500 1,400 700 600 300  
Kentucky 1,900 4,000 2,300 1,400 1,000 300  
Louisiana 2,000 4,200 2,500 1,600 700 400  
Maine 700 1,500 800 400 500 200  
Maryland 2,800 6,000 3,500 2,000 1,000 800  
Massachusetts 5,300 11,500 6,600 3,200 2,400 1,800  
Michigan 4,100 8,900 5,000 2,800 2,000 1,000  
Minnesota 2,800 6,000 3,400 1,800 1,400 1,000  
Mississippi 900 2,000 1,200 800 400 100  
Missouri 2,700 5,900 3,400 1,900 1,300 700  
Montana 500 1,100 600 300 300 100  
Nebraska 900 1,900 1,100 600 400 300  
Nevada 2,200 4,700 2,500 1,500 900 600  
New Hampshire 600 1,300 700 300 400 200  
New Jersey 4,700 10,100 5,700 3,300 1,600 1,500  
New Mexico 1,100 2,400 1,400 900 400 200  
New York 24,900 54,000 30,400 16,100 9,200 8,500  
North Carolina 4,400 9,600 5,500 3,200 1,800 1,000  
North Dakota 300 600 400 100 100 100  
Ohio 5,200 11,300 6,400 3,800 2,600 1,300  
Oklahoma 1,700 3,600 2,100 1,300 800 400  
Oregon 3,900 8,500 4,600 2,400 1,900 1,100  
Pennsylvania 5,800 12,600 7,100 3,800 3,000 1,700  
Puerto Rico 1,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A  
Rhode Island 500 1,200 700 300 300 200  
South Carolina 2,000 4,200 2,500 1,400 800 400  
South Dakota 400 800 500 200 200 100  
Tennessee 3,000 6,500 3,700 2,300 1,300 600  
Texas 12,500 26,900 15,200 10,000 4,000 2,500  
Utah 1,100 2,400 1,300 800 300 200  
Vermont 400 800 400 200 200 100  
Virginia 3,200 7,000 4,000 2,300 1,200 700  
Washington 6,100 13,300 7,300 3,900 2,700 1,700  
West Virginia 600 1,400 800 400 300 100  
Wisconsin 2,400 5,200 2,900 1,400 1,200 800  
Wyoming 200 500 300 100 100 100  
Total U.S. 200,000 432,000 240,000 137,000 76,000 53,000  

Notes: Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and may not sum to totals due to rounding. N/A indicates reliable data are not available. The American Community Survey (ACS) identifies people with disabilities based on six types of disability; respondents reporting any of the six are considered to have a disability. For more detail on the six disability types see: https://www.census.gov/topics/health/disability/guidance/data-collection-acs.html.

The tables show estimates of the number of vouchers each state would receive under the voucher expansion proposed in the President's FY 2023 budget. The estimates assume the 200,000 estimated total vouchers are allocated among states according to a formula that places equal weight on (1) the number of people experiencing homelessness and (2) the number of households that are very low income (less than 50 percent of the local median) and face one or more of the following challenges: severe cost burden (paying more than 50 percent of their monthly income on rent and utilities), severe overcrowding (more than 1.5 people per room), or incomplete kitchen or plumbing facilities. Demographic population estimates are determined by multiplying the total number of people we estimate will receive vouchers in the state by the demographic’s share among the state's severely cost-burdened, very low-income households. We include Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands in the total number of households, assuming they will receive 400 vouchers based on their share of all households currently receiving vouchers.

Source: CBPP analysis of 2015-2019 ACS microdata and 2014-2018 Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy data; 2019 HUD area median income limits; 2020 Point-in-Time Count data

TABLE 2
People Assisted Through Housing Voucher Expansion Proposed in President’s FY 2023 Budget, Estimated Share by State and Race/Ethnicity
State American Indian/Alaska Native Asian/Pacific Islander Black Latino Multiracial White
Alabama 0% 1% 51% 8% 2% 37%
Alaska 16% 10% 5% 17% 6% 45%
Arizona 4% 3% 8% 44% 3% 37%
Arkansas 0% 1% 35% 9% 3% 51%
California 0% 12% 9% 51% 3% 24%
Colorado 1% 4% 8% 34% 4% 49%
Connecticut 0% 4% 20% 39% 3% 34%
Delaware 0% 4% 38% 21% 2% 35%
District of Columbia 1% 3% 70% 12% 1% 13%
Florida 0% 2% 27% 39% 2% 30%
Georgia 0% 3% 52% 15% 3% 27%
Hawai’i 0% 34% 3% 20% 17% 25%
Idaho 1% 1% 1% 19% 3% 74%
Illinois 0% 5% 36% 21% 3% 34%
Indiana 0% 4% 27% 11% 4% 55%
Iowa 1% 5% 14% 12% 3% 65%
Kansas 1% 3% 18% 17% 5% 56%
Kentucky 0% 2% 18% 6% 4% 70%
Louisiana 0% 1% 60% 8% 2% 29%
Maine 1% 1% 4% 3% 6% 84%
Maryland 0% 5% 46% 18% 3% 27%
Massachusetts 0% 8% 13% 29% 3% 45%
Michigan 1% 3% 37% 7% 4% 47%
Minnesota 3% 6% 25% 11% 5% 50%
Mississippi 0% 1% 67% 3% 2% 27%
Missouri 1% 3% 29% 6% 4% 57%
Montana 10% 1% 0% 6% 5% 77%
Nebraska 1% 4% 16% 19% 4% 56%
Nevada 1% 6% 21% 36% 4% 32%
New Hampshire 0% 4% 4% 9% 3% 80%
New Jersey 0% 6% 23% 39% 2% 29%
New Mexico 10% 1% 3% 57% 2% 27%
New York 0% 10% 22% 35% 2% 30%
North Carolina 1% 2% 41% 14% 3% 39%
North Dakota 11% 2% 6% 7% 3% 71%
Ohio 0% 3% 32% 7% 5% 52%
Oklahoma 8% 2% 19% 13% 10% 48%
Oregon 1% 5% 5% 20% 6% 62%
Pennsylvania 0% 4% 24% 20% 4% 48%
Rhode Island 1% 4% 9% 30% 3% 53%
South Carolina 0% 2% 49% 10% 2% 36%
South Dakota 27% 2% 3% 7% 3% 57%
Tennessee 0% 2% 38% 10% 3% 47%
Texas 0% 4% 23% 46% 2% 24%
Utah 2% 5% 6% 25% 3% 59%
Vermont 1% 3% 4% 2% 3% 86%
Virginia 0% 5% 34% 17% 4% 39%
Washington 1% 9% 10% 20% 7% 54%
West Virginia 0% 1% 10% 2% 5% 82%
Wisconsin 1% 4% 24% 12% 4% 55%
Wyoming 1% 1% 3% 16% 4% 76%
Total U.S. 1% 6% 24% 29% 3% 37%

Notes: Latino category may contain individuals of any race who identify as Latino or Hispanic; other categories exclude individuals who identify as Latino or Hispanic. Race-ethnicity shares are determined based on the race-ethnicity group's share among very low-income households in the state that are severely cost burdened (paying more than 50 percent of their monthly income on rent and utilities).

Source: CBPP analysis of 2015-2019 American Community Survey microdata; 2019 HUD area median income limits

will_fischer-500x500.jpg

Senior Director for Housing Policy and Research