tv Eye on Washington CBS August 6, 2016 1:37am-2:08am PDT
program produced in washington, d.c. every week, "eye on washington" takes you straight to capitol hill for a discussion with nevada's delegation and other leaders about the federal matters that matter to you. today's topic, housing affordability. we'll look at those struggling despite nevada's population and job growth. my very special guest today is rebekah king, a policy specialist for the national housing conference. and nhc is a washington, d.c. based organization that advocates for policy and legislation focusing on sustainability and affordability concerns. thanks so much for being here today, ms. king. >> glad to be with you. >> well, count your blessings today if you have a mortgage or rent whose rate doesn't have you losing sleep every night. not all nevadans do. today on "eye on washington," we'll find out why high growth and increased jobs also mean a rougher time for low-income renters. we'll learn what you need to make in nevada to pay the average rent bill. and we'll find out what my
housing more affordable and accessible for all of us. the need for affordable housing is staggering, that according to national housing economic specialist elliot eisenberg. he told the "reno gazette-journal" in february that rising rents now, quote, are a chronic problem. first the good news. that "gazette-journal" piece said nevada reclaimed its ranking as fastest growing sector last year with a 4.5% growth rate. the state hasn't seen such a number since 2005. that's great news for business and job growth, not so good news if you are in the market for an affordable place to live. those new nevadans need a place to live and there aren't enough homes. and a housing shortage tends to lead to rising prices. so real estate website zillow says median rental prices are an all-time high of $946 per month.
multi-family inventory and land is causing a rental crisis. ms. king, first of all, welcome to "eye on washington." of course, we have had your president chris estes and your vice president ethan handelman on the show many times. you know, we see the good news in growth. more jobs, new businesses in nevada. but if you are a low-income nevadan looking for a place to live, you're going to be finding it harder to make ends meet because rents are rising, isn't so just nationally rents are continuing to rise as they are in nevada. we have done two studies that look at affordability, our housing landscape report and our paycheck to paycheck report. our landscape report looks at working households and cost burden. so they are paying more of their income for rent than they should. so 21% of working households in nevada are cost burdened, seveverelylyt burdrdened. so they are paying 50% of
rent which doesn't leave much for food or education or medical expenses. >> right. the more you are spending on the cost of your rent, the less you have for other costs of living, like consumer products and, you know, medicine is a big deal, food and everything else, right? >> right. and unfortunately, even professions like an elementary schoolteacher or police officer in las vegas or reno don't earn enough to buy a median priced home right now. and then when you talk about professions earning less like a full-time janitor or retail cashier, they don't earn enough to rent a two bedroom median price rental home. >> so we look at some of the challenges facing what officials are terming this severely burdened renter in our next segment. but what are you seeing in nevada and nationally as some of the biggest issues currently facing the affordability housing market? >> so in nevada, one of the pieces that is complicating the situation is still dealing with the foreclosure crisis.
foreclosure are renters. so there is more renters coming in from that angle, former homeowners. and then you have credit that's still really tight. so renters who want to buy can't get a loan to do so, even if they have the income necessarily. so there's just more renters in states like nevada than kind of typical given those kind of bounding situations. >> sure. you know, when it comes to housing, kind of a cousin of affordability is sustaili and i know that housing stabilization is another main area that you at the nhc, that you prioritize. could you define stabilization for my statewide audience? and also, tell us how nevada is doing here. >> so sustainable housing or housing stabilization means that not only do you have housing, but you can afford it, you can stay in it for as long as you want to. so your income is sufficient and your rent or your mortgage costs aren't rising. and that's the benefit of a
and how is nevada doing as far as stabilization? >> nevada is probably doing just as well as most other states in that cost burden puts you more at risk. so for the group of renters that are cost burdened, they are not very housing secure. >> i see. okay. >> for those that aren't cost burdened, they probably are. they have enough cushion in their finances to cover things that pop up. but for cost burdenent they don't. so they are really one lower paycheck away from being evicted. >> we're going to talk about those severely burdened nevadans coming up next. when we return, keeping the landlord at bay, what does a nevadan need to earn to pay the rent? we're going to tell you after this. we're going to tell you after this. stay with us. (announcer) >>you're watching "eye on washington with marilee joyce."
a big housing concern and what one washington-based organization is doing on the hill to advocate for affordability and accessibility. and again, my special guest today, rebekah king, policy specialist for the national housing conference. well, nevada ranks 19th in the nation for highest housing wage required to afford a modest apartment. 43% of nevadans are renters. and according to the national low-income housing coalition, apartment in nevada $605 a month. that means you'd need to make $11.64 an hour or $24,214 a year. you've got a big family? a four-bedroom will set back a nevadan $1,656 a month. you'd need to bring home more than $66,000 a year for that apartment. well, according to my guest's organization, the national housing conference, one in
is severely housing burdened. costs of home ownership have declined modestly in recent years, but too many renters continue to greatly struggle. the most recent statistic cited by the nhc show that in 2014, 24.2% of all renter households and 25.1% of low-to-moderate income working renters experience severe housing cost burdens. that compares to 9.7% of all homeowners. and again, ms. king, there is severely housing burdened and then there's severe housing problems. so countyhealthrankings.org says, quote, currently nearly 1/4 of households in clark and washoe counties have at least one of these four problems. overcrowding. high housing costs. or lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities. that's very serious.
in four of these, i'll bet there are some families struggling with one to all of four, is that correct? >> that is correct. so many families because, for instance, they are struggling to pay the rent, then they find another family to move in with them to help with those costs. then they are overcrowded. they are doubling up so they are both becoming more insecure in their housing in that situation. >> so, in other words, a roof over your head doesn't always mean a quality roof over your head. >> yes. th's at the lower end of the housing spectrum where rentals are more affordable, unfortunately, you have housing that is less desirable. that's why it's cheaper. but they also don't have a way to go to their landlord and ask that they upgrade that unit because they are nervous about losing that unit. they struggled to find it. >> you know, i mentioned that washoe and clark county -- of course, that's the most populated areas in nevada
area, the reno metro areas are, of course. so top the list for the severely burdened working renters. but nye county is slightly higher than 21%. and, you know, other areas are seeing a rent struggle, too. there's really no area in nevada which, of course, as you know, suffered the worse in the great recession, suffered the worse job loss and foreclosure which led to so much of this. there's really no good corner of the state. kind of what's the outlook right now? >> the outlook right now is that rental households that are struggling to pay rent, unfortunately are probably going to keep struggling for a couple of reasons. one, we don't have enough housing subsidy at the federal level to meet the need. two, it takes a while for supply to catch up. so while multi-family building permits are increasing, you can't build a new apartment complex overnight. it takes time. >> sure. >> so for the market to provide what's needed, it's going to take a while. >> you know, again your
president ethan handelman, they have been on the show many times, you know, with housing news updates as we have gone through the whole foreclosure and everything else related to it over the years since 2009. you know, one thing again stresses that neighborhood stabilization. and this really ties in, doesn't it? how does one burdened apartment unit, in other words, bad plumbing, kitchen, high costs, overcrowded -- it begins to impact neighborhoods. and that can impact entire communities, can't it? if suddenly a neighborhood is not as desirable, in other words. >> yeah. so if there is a noticeable apartment complex or a home that's for rent that is noticeably lower quality, it can drag down property values. if a unit has become vacant or abandoned, it certainly drags down property values. it makes the neighborhood start to feel unsafe, even if it's not. it just doesn't look appealing. so we are still trying to deal with those neighborhoods, how to help them come back. >> you know, another sort of
will, you know, the amount of money a low-income nevadan has to make and as rent prices rise, more of that money, then you get the overcrowding and all these problems you have talked about -- but with rental costs expected to keep rising, you know, we could be looking at increases in homelessness in the state. isn't that right? what do nhc officials believe is coming as far as possible homeless rates in nevada and nationally if rents get too high? i mean how many families can you invite to live with you? and after a while, you know... >> exactly. nhc believes this is just further evidence of the need for federal housing policy and federal support for housing subsidies to help families that want to pay their own way, are working and just can't make the numbers work because of the market. so having a robust hud program is how we can help families access affordable housing. and having state and local
>> welcome back to "eye on washington," our discussion struggling with housing needs. we have been visiting with rebekah king, policy specialist for the national housing conference. the nhc is one of the nation's top sources for housing information. and if you visit nhc.org, you're going to find help with most any housing-related question or concern you might have. you'll find, for example, foreclosure news, legislative efforts, special housing needs of veterans, the elderly and
hohoususand an a agingng population and too much more to list here. well, ms. king, first of all, you know, your site has so many helpful offerings, it really is something. i kind of like just playing around on your site when i'm preparing for these shows. it is really a wealth of news and information. but again, i want to emphasize that the nhc's top function is to broaden our understanding of america's housing challenges. and again, those are affordable housing, foreclosure recovery and neighborhood stabilization, right? and that's kind of what you stress in your news, when you're fighting on the hill for those things, etc. isn't it? i mean that's really the main focus. tell us about that. >> yes. our main focus is providing affordable housing for all who need it. so we try to work on the spectrum of housing from home ownership down to homelessness so that we can advocate for solutions that work for people at all of those places. >> and a big part of the
personal policy work -- i know you are the policy specialist for the group. kind of to try to influence policy, isn't it? in a way that makes home ownership a reality for people. what are some of the things you and your team are working on this year policy wise? >> so this year policy wise, a few things we are working on is just continuing to advocate to congress that they pass spending legislation with robust levels for hud programs and usda rural housing programs, to make sure that federal flood mitigation policies are what they should be and protect low-income households. continuing to look at energy efficiency challenges for low-income households because housing comes with utilities that you need to pay. and also trying to think about intersections like housing and health and housing and education and how we can do more policy work around those areas, too. >> you know, we tend to focus -- we try to cover a lot of rural news on my show as
radio that you see today focus so much on the bigger cities. what are some of the challenges facing nevada's rural communities as far as housing? when you look at rural versus the larger cities. >> so for rural, it's a couple of things. and one is having non-profits or developers with the capacity to build what's needed there. there's just not as much there as in urban areas. and then incomes are a lot people typically in rural areas make less than in urban areas so they are able to pay less in rent. so that becomes a challenge, too, in terms of providing what they need for their housing. >> you know, i mentioned that your site provides information as well on special housing needs of, say, veterans, elderly, those with physical challenges and other special needs. what are some areas that you focus on here? for example, that latter group might require ramps, right?
size to one-level homes, etc. what do you kind of look at as far as all that goes? >> so we try to look at what different special populations need in order to, as you said, kind of access housing. so for veterans coming back who have post traumatic stress, it's making sure that not only they have rent assistance but also services to help them process and adjust to being back home. so something like the hud bash program which not only provides vouchers, but works with the v.a. to that they have the support they need to succeed. >> i see. okay. we're going to pick it up right after this. when we return, what does my guest believe needs to happen on the hill to make housing more accessible and affordable? she's going to tell us right
really makes a difference in the housing affordability factor? how pleased are you this year? >> so congress has a lot that they are trying to juggle. but i would like to see a better understanding of the rental affordability crisis that we are in. we are in a rental affordability crisis. >> what's the disconnect? you say you want them to see and kind of get a clearer picture. >> i would like to see it a higher priority for more senators and representatives on the hill as opposed to just to do. so in that vein, we hope the house and the senate will pass appropriations bills for hud that give it the funding it needs to continue providing rental assistance. we'd like to see them expand the low-income housing tax credit. we'd like to see them actually tackle mortgage finance reform. we have been in a temporary conservatorship for eight years now. >> explain that to my audience. >> so when the crisis happened, the government stepped in and took over
which buy and secure mortgage loans. so when they did that, it was supposed to be temporary. but the government is still very much in control of fannie mae and freddie mac. >> and what does that mean as far as affecting nevadans and others in need? >> what it means is that we are not creating a long-term sustainable mortgage finance system. >> i see. okay. >> so congress could -- it is challenging. tackle that. they are really the only place that can get that done and create what we need to move forward and prevent another housing crisis in the future. >> i know it's tough to choose. but if you had to pick your top housing concern for 2016, what is it and why? you only get one. >> that's a really tough question. it's housing affordability for working households. and it's housing stability for
matt desmond just wrote a book "eviction" which talks and really highlights the challenges that low-income households face and how easily they can lose their housing. so really just drawing more attention to that, getting congress again to pass these spending bills that we need for hud programs and providing more rent assistance. >> i want to thank you for being here today. good show. >> thank you for having me. >> thanks for all of that great information for my audience. that does wrap up today's "eye on washington." but we are always here for you providing all the top federal know. you can just visit our website. that's joycecommunications.com. and you can also subscribe to our nevada's washington watch newsletter while you're there. be sure to like us on facebook. you can follow me on twitter. catch any shows you may have missed on our youtube page. thanks for joining us today on "eye on washington." i am marilee joyce in washington, d.c.
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