January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month. The poverty rate in the United States increased from 9.3% in June to 11.7% in November, the biggest increase in one year since 1960. The federal poverty line is $26,200 for a family of four. Poverty can cause malnutrition and hunger; lack of proper medical care; social discrimination and exclusion; and limited access to education and other basic services.
Housing affects almost everything: it plays a critical role in providing stability to poor families. Housing poverty includes energy and fuel poverty, lack of access to water, and lack of sanitation. The housing market does not produce enough affordable housing, and the number of households paying more than 30% of household income for rent is at historic levels. Families with severe rent burdens are left with very little room for other necessities. Often, they face eviction, sometimes repeatedly, or in worst cases, end up homeless.