Alternative #1: Overview of Need Summary Indicator
As a summary indicator of local affordable housing need, the Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse can provide the number of households that are low-income (incomes below 80% of area median) and severely cost-burdened (paying 50% or more for mortgage costs or rent) for each county and jurisdiction. The Clearinghouse provides estimates and projections of the number of these households by tenure for the years 2013-2040.
This indicator encompasses a broad range of households likely experiencing distress because of their housing costs. With their low incomes, the large portion of income taken up by housing costs is likely to limit these households' ability to afford other necessities.
Moreover, the 80% of median income figure is a traditional measure of eligibility for programmatic housing assistance. For example, all beneficiaries of the federal public housing program and federal HOME program must have incomes below this amount.
The need indicator can serve as an approximation of the total number of households that would benefit from some type of housing assistance, particularly if homeless and migrant households are added. Such assistance could include the construction of new affordable housing units, but it could also include the provision of subsidies to make current units more affordable.
In addition to this summary level of information, we believe a more detailed understanding of the presence of low-income and cost-burdened households can help local governments plan for and target assistance. The following discusses supplemental tables that provide this additional level of detail.
Note, however, that the number does not include homeless individuals and families, as they are not included in household enumerations. It also does not include many migrant farmworker households, missed by Census counts.
Alternative #2: Detailed Need Tables
While the summary indicator can provide a measure of overall housing need, targeting housing assistance appropriately requires more detail about income variation within the total number of low-income, severely cost-burdened households, for two reasons:
1) If needs are to be addressed through construction of new units, income variation within low-income households means that not all new rent- or price-restricted units will be affordable to all households. For example, a household at 30% AMI would still pay more than half of its income for rent in an apartment with rent set for households with incomes of 60% AMI.
2) A number of housing programs, such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and, in most cases, Section 8 Housing Vouchers, set income limits below 80% of area median.
Therefore, we can also provide supplemental tables with more detail on the income categories that make up the summary need indicator.
Projected Increase in Cost-Burdened Households
Another table that might be useful in planning is the projected increase in severely cost-burdened, low-income households over multi-year periods. Governments could choose to seek construction of units to meet this growth in low-income households that would not be able to afford housing without assistance. While this would not address the existing need, it would keep the affordable housing shortage from worsening.
The initial AHNA needs summary figure (Alternative #1) of all low-income, severely cost-burdened households provides one measure of affordable housing needs in a local community. With additional data, however, county and local governments can make more informed decisions about housing assistance needs and programs. Projections of future increases in severely cost-burdened households and construction needs can guide cities and counties in preventing growth in the local affordable housing need. More detailed information about income can help counties and cities find ways to address the existing need with the various state and federal housing programs designed to serve particular income levels.