America’s rental crisis impacts everyone

Our country is facing a rental affordability crisis.

More families are renting homes than ever before with great financial and social costs. In fact, eleven million households – 1 in 4 of all renter households – are forced to spend more than half of their income on rent just to keep a roof over their heads, while making sacrifices such as forgoing food, healthcare, and other household necessities. America’s rental affordability crisis impacts 14.6 million women, 8.6 million children, 7.9 million millennials, 2.3 million seniors, and almost 800,000 veterans.


The lack of stable, affordable rental homes has long-lasting effects on the health, education, and socio-economic well-being of millions of children, families, and seniors.

  • Children who grow up in rent- stressed homes are more likely to be in fair/poor health and are more likely to suffer physical, developmental, and mental health challenges. They also experience frequent school moves, high rates of absenteeism, and low test scores.
  • Being behind on rent puts enormous stress on women, affecting their health, jobs, and relationships.
  • Low income, single mothers with young children, particularly African Americans, are at especially high risk of eviction.
  • Unstably housed seniors visit the emergency room at nearly 4 times the rate of the general population of older adults and studies have also found that rent-burdened seniors may even be at higher risk for premature death.

1 MILLION MESSAGES BY 2020

WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY PERSON SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO A SAFE, SECURE AND AFFORDABLE HOME. AND, THAT ONE VOICE CAN TIP THE SCALE TO MAKE ALL HOMES AFFORDABLE. THAT’S WHY WE’VE SET A BOLD GOAL TO ENGAGE 1 MILLION RENTERS TO SEND 1 MILLION MESSAGES TO THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS BY THE YEAR 2020.

It ALL starts with 1.

It all started in 2015 during a design sprint with a bold idea. How could we break down the barriers that prevent the most vulnerable of populations to self-advocate and encourage all Americans to become civically engaged for home as a human right?

The result was a mobile-friendly digital advocacy platform that connects and educates elected officials and residents by powering real-time conversations and mobilizing communities. The platform is empowering everyone to raise their voices in the fight for solutions to the rent affordability crisis – one action and story at a time.

Goals and Objectives

Increase the supply of homes that renters can afford.

Increase rental assistance to help close the gap.

Provide short-term emergency assistance grants to help renters stabilize their living situations.

Break down regulatory barriers that stand in the way of progress on affordable homes.

2018: our five-point action plan

2018 IS A CRITICAL MOMENT for changing the national conversation about rental housing insecurity and how it impacts the health and well-being of millions of Americans. Make Room will harness the full power of its digital platform and growing network of online advocates and allies to preserve and increase the supply of affordable rental homes. Our major 2018 initiatives and five-point action plan include:

  1. Expanding our digital footprint
    • Grow online advocates to 250,000
    • Increase the level of civic engagement among our digital community
  2. Demonstrating effectiveness of emergency rental assistance programs
    • Launch short-term emergency assistance program to help keep families in their homes and build their credit history
    • Create a housing stability loan toolkit for low-to-moderate income households to prevent evictions and stabilize rent-burdened individuals
  3. Awareness and Changing the Narrative
    • Activate National Month for Renters in September including national media campaign, Hill visits, and online activism
    • Host Journalism Study Tours in key markets facing rental affordability issues
    • Tell solution-based stories bridging understanding and empathy for the rental -housing crisis
  4. Supporting local campaigns
    • Mobilize advocates and educate local officials to promote policy recommendations that increase affordable rental housing in critical markets
  5. Advocating for federal policies that protect and expand affordable rental homes
    • Engage Members of Congress as affordable rental housing champions
    • Rally support for a 50% increase in the housing credit and program improvements
    • Preserve and expand the Housing Trust Fund
    • Safeguard existing rental assistance programs like Section 8 and advocate for new ideas such as a rental housing tax credit