Worst Case Housing Needs Increase 41% Since 2007

HUD Releases Worst Case Housing Needs Report: 8.3 Million Households Living on Edge of Homelessness

On August 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its Worst Case Housing Needs 2017 Report to Congress report. The report found that 8.3 million unassisted very low income households in America spend more than half of their income on their housing, live in severely standard housing, or both.

The number of households experiencing this “worst case housing” has increased by 41% since 2007 and by 66% since 2001. These increases point to an affordable housing crisis of unprecedented proportions.

The 2015 Worst Case Needs by Metropolitan Area numbers for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington were

  • 342,000 Very Low-Income Renter Households
  • 145,000 Worst Case Households
  • 42,000 Worst Case Housing Needs

and in New York-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

  • 1,834,000 Very Low-Income Renter Households
  • 815,000 Worst Case Households
  • 44,000 Worst Case Housing Needs

The report is the sixteenth in a longstanding series providing national data and analysis of the critical problems facing very low-income renting families.

Households with worst case needs are defined as very low-income renters who do not receive government housing assistance and who paid more than one-half of their income for rent, lived in severely inadequate conditions, or both.

HUD’s report finds that housing needs cut across all regions of the country and include all racial and ethnic groups, regardless of whether they live in cities, suburbs or rural areas. In addition, HUD concluded that large numbers of worst case needs were also found across various household types including families with children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

The report draws on data from the 2015 American Housing Survey (AHS), which debuted a major redesign that included a new national and metropolitan area longitudinal sample. The reports found that benefits of the strengthening national economy are not adequately flowing to renter households at the lowest income levels and severe housing problems are on the rise.

Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) issued a statement on Worst Case Housing Needs.

“The NLIHC-led United for Homes campaign calls for rebalancing federal housing policy to address the needs of those most in need. With modest reforms to the mortgage interest deduction, a $70 billion per-year tax expenditure that mostly benefits higher income homeowners, we could help 25 million low and moderate income homeowners and generate $241 billion in savings over ten years to invest in affordable rental housing solutions for those with the lowest incomes. We can solve the affordable housing crisis in America with no additional cost the federal government. We just need the political will to do so,” said Diane Yentel.

In a press statement accompanying the release of the report, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson stated: “Today’s affordable rental housing crisis requires that we take a more business-like approach on how the public sector can reduce the regulatory barriers so the private markets can produce more housing for more families.”

Demand for affordable housing is growing faster than the construction of homes working families can afford to rent, especially in high-cost areas of the country.

Worst Case Housing Needs Report

NLIHC Statement on the Report

HUD’s Press Release

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