The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) Rental Housing Programs Database (RHPD) was created to generate a better understanding of the diverse ways in which state and local governments use their own financial resources to close the gap between available federal funding for rental housing and the unmet needs of renters in their communities. The RHPD captures information on state and locally funded programs that create, preserve, or increase access to affordable rental housing; it includes program goals, target populations, tenant eligibility requirements, and other program characteristics. The database also serves as a resource that enables housing advocates, state and local agencies, policymakers, and other interested parties to learn about initiatives around the country that can serve as models for programs in their own communities.

NLIHC’s State and Local Investments in Rental Housing report summarizes findings from this year’s updated Rental Housing Programs Database. To explore the database, please visit this webpage.

Key Findings

  • We identified 353 active rental housing programs across the country, including 281 state-funded programs and 72 locally funded programs among the largest cities. Over half of these programs provide capital for the construction, rehabilitation, purchase, and operation of affordable rental housing properties.
  • For rental assistance programs, the most common income eligibility thresholds are at or below 50% of area median income (AMI) (23.1%), at or below 80% of AMI (22.2%), and at or below 30% of AMI (14.8%). Experiencing or being at risk of homelessness is the most common non-income eligibility criterion, required by 60.8% of rental assistance programs (n = 120).
  • Tenant-based rental assistance programs tend to provide shorter term assistance than project-based rental assistance programs. Over half (53.7%, n = 82) of tenant-based programs provide rental assistance for less than two years, while over 80% (n = 18) of project-based programs provide assistance for more than two years or do not have a predetermined time limit.
  • Most capital resources programs (60.3%, n = 156) require affordability periods longer than 20 years.
  • Forty percent of tax relief programs require applicants to have an annual income at or below $35,000. The majority of programs prioritize elderly renters (69.6%, n = 23) and nearly half (47.8%) target renters with disabilities.
  • More rental housing programs rely on general revenue than on any other type of funding (39.4%). At least a fourth (23.5%) of all programs are supported by dedicated revenue streams. However, only a tenth of tenant-based rental assistance programs receive funds from dedicated funding streams, in contrast to roughly a third each of project-based rental assistance programs and capital resources programs. Nearly one in five programs utilize special one-time funding, including federal SLFRF funds and non-federal sources.