Frequently Asked Questions

Record-breaking numbers of families cannot afford a decent place to call home:

  • On any given night, more than half a million people are experiencing homelessness.
  • There is no state or county where a renter working full-time at minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment.
  • On average, a renter would need to earn $20.30 an hour to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment.
  • Nationally, there is a shortage of more than 7 million affordable homes for our nation’s 10 million plus extremely low-income families.
  • Seventy-five percent of all extremely low-income families are severely cost-burdened, paying more than half their income on rent.

Every state and every community is impacted. Families have few options. Each year the shortage gets worse; and that’s why people are homeless in our country and why families struggle to pay for groceries and visits to their doctor.

United for Homes believes that everyone deserves a decent, affordable place to live and we have a plan that can get us there.

We know what works. We just need the political will to do it. Federal investments in housing have a proven track record of reducing housing costs and preventing homelessness. But, these investments are sorely underfunded.

We can make the investments we need without adding any costs to the federal government by reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction, a tax write-off that largely benefits America’s highest income households. With our simple reforms, millions of low-income homeowners who currently do not benefit from the Mortgage Interest Deduction will get a much-needed tax break and we could investment more than $241 billion over 10 years in housing that serves families with the greatest needs.

United for Homes seeks to end homelessness, build a strong foundation, and strengthen communities by increasing federal investments in housing programs that are sorely underfunded.

We can make the investments we need by reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction, a tax write-off that largely benefits America’s wealthiest families and reinvesting the savings in housing that serves families with the greatest needs.

Our proposal includes:

  • Reducing the amount of a mortgage eligible for a tax write-off from $1 million to $500,000;
  • Turning the Mortgage Interest Deduction into a tax credit to benefit millions of low and moderate-income homeowners who currently do not benefit from the Mortgage Interest Deduction.
  • Reinvesting the savings generated—more than $241 billion over 10 years—in housing programs that serve people with the greatest needs.

This is common sense. And, many experts agree that it’s time to reform the Mortgage Interest Deduction!

Under the United for Homes plan:

  • An additional 15 million more low and moderate income homeowners who currently do not benefit from the Mortgage Interest Deduction would get a much-needed tax break.
  • Approximately 3 million more families could receive help to afford their rent.
  • More than 2.4 million new, affordable rental homes could come onto the market.
  • Families–and especially children–who live in a stable, affordable homes have better health and education outcomes, have greater access to economic opportunities, and benefit from stronger communities. For more information on the impact of affordable homes on families and children, see Impact on Families and Children.

Benefits America’s highest income households who do not need help to be stably housed.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top 20% of highest income households receive 75% of the benefits of the MID; the top 1% get 15% of the benefits. In fact, $59 billion a year—80% of the MID—goes to households making more than $100,000 a year; $30 billion—40%—goes to households earning more than $200,000.

  • Economists agree that MID does little to promote homeownership. Three-fourths of all taxpayers do not benefit from the MID. This includes about half of all homeowners who simply take the standard deduction on their taxes and households who rent. MID primarily benefits higher income households who would choose to buy a home whether or not they were receiving the tax benefit.
  • It’s time to reprioritize and rebalance scarce federal housing resources to serve families with the greatest needs. Overall, about 60 percent of federal housing spending benefits households with incomes above $100,000. The 7 million households with incomes of $200,000 or more receive a larger share of these resources than the more than 55 million households with incomes of $50,000 or less, even though lower-income families are far more likely to struggle to afford to house. At a time when America’s housing affordability crisis continues to reach new heights, our nation should be investing scarce resources into programs that serve the poorest among us.
  • Housing is the key to reducing intergenerational poverty and increasing economic mobility. Research shows that increasing access to affordable housing is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing childhood poverty and increasing economic mobility in the United States. Stanford economist Raj Chetty found that children who moved to lower-poverty neighborhoods saw their earnings as adults increase by approximately 31%, an increased likelihood of living in better neighborhoods as adults, and a lowered likelihood of becoming a single parent. Moreover, children living in stable, affordable homes are more likely to thrive in school and have greater opportunities to learn inside and outside the classroom.
  • Increasing access to affordable housing bolsters economic growth. Research shows that the shortage of affordable housing costs the American economy about $2 trillion a year in lower wages and productivity. Without affordable housing, families have constrained opportunities to increase earnings, causing slower GDP growth. In fact, researchers estimate that the growth in GDP between 1964 and 2009 would have been 13.5% higher if families had better access to affordable housing. This would have led to a $1.7 trillion increase in income or $8,775 in additional wages per worker.

Moreover, each dollar invested in affordable housing boosts local economies by leveraging public and private resources to generate income—including resident earnings and additional local tax revenue—and supports job creation and retention.

More than 2,300 national, state, and local organizations, as well as government officials and individual advocates, support United for Homes and our proposal. A full list of supporters is available here. You can become a supporter by signing our petition here.

You can support United for Homes by joining the campaign, contacting your Members of Congress, or sharing our message via social media. Find out more here.