NLIHC releases annual Gap Report

Central Iowa has a deficit of over 11,000 affordable and available homes

NLIHC releases annual Gap Report

Figures released last week by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund, in partnership with the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, highlight the growing shortage of affordable rental homes for the Central Iowa workforce. The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, reports that in the Des Moines metropolitan area 85.15% of families of four earning $25,100 annually spend over 50 cents of each dollar they earn on rent.

“This crushing financial burden leaves little left for necessities such as food, transportation and health care,” said Eric Burmeister, the Executive Director of the Polk County Housing TrustFund. “The number of households falling into this category grows each year. The trend points to future difficulties in sustaining Central Iowa’s economic growth unless we work quickly and decisively to provide housing options that match the incomes of the jobs employers have and are planning to add.”

The Gap exposes the critical shortage of affordable apartments as the reason for the high percentage of families impacted by this burden. In central Iowa, for every 100 households needing affordable housing, there are only 40 affordable and available rentals. In order to close the gap, an additional 11,848 homes would be required. “This obviously needs to be a top priority for state and local governments,” according to Burmeister.

Nationally, only 4 million affordable and available rental homes exist for the 11 million extremely low-income renters, leaving a shortage of 7 million.

“The Gap shows in clear relief why we must significantly invest in federal programs targeted to make homes affordable for people with the lowest incomes,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “Congress must protect and expand programs like the national Housing Trust Fund, housing vouchers, public housing, and others that house the most vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, and low-wage families with children. We can end homelessness and housing poverty in America. All we need is the will.” 

Read the full report at and learn about local impacts from The Des Moines Register and Business Record.