According to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Texas is now among the top six states with the least amount of rental housing available for low-income families.

Across Texas, there is a shortage of 614,487 affordable and available rental units for very low-income (ELI) households, whose incomes are at or below the poverty line or 30% of their regional median income ( FRIEND). There are 29 affordable rental units available for 100 very low income tenant households.

With nearly a quarter of all renters in Texas having extremely low incomes, the study found that 74% of those households are severely cost burdened. Poor households with high cost burdens are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and health care to pay rent and experience unstable housing situations like evictions.

Several important factors affect affordability, including costs and trends related to land, laws, labour, timber and loans. City and state leaders should consider policy changes to allow for more developer incentives, inclusive zoning and higher density housing. With a large influx of people moving to Texas, the state needs to reconsider the types of housing they put on the lot. Texas’ traditional low-density single-family housing model will not provide the supply of affordable housing needed to meet the growing population. Especially in big cities and fast growing areas like Austin. Lawmakers need to invest more resources in solving the affordable housing crisis in Texas. Without intervention, the number of cost-burdened tenants will continue to grow at an alarming rate, threatening the economic and social vitality of our state.