HUD Finds 7.7 Million Households with Worst-Case Housing Needs
On Feb. 3, HUD released the Executive Summary of Worst Case Housing Needs: 2015 Report to Congress. Worst-case needs are defined as renters with very low incomes—below 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI)—who do not receive government housing assistance and who pay more than one-half of their income for rent, live in severely inadequate conditions, or both.
In 1991, Congress directed HUD to periodically report on the worst-case needs for affordable rental housing in the U.S. The 2015 report is the sixteenth such report. HUD’s most recent report found:
- Worst-case housing needs were 7.7 million in 2013, down from a historic high of 8.5 million in 2011. This represents a 9 percent decline since 2011 yet remains 9 percent greater than in 2009 and 49 percent greater than in 2003.
- Worst-case needs affect very low-income renters across racial and ethnic groups. The prevalence of worst-case needs among such renters during 2013 was 44 percent for non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics, 35 percent for non-Hispanic blacks, and 42 percent for others. The rate decreased between 2011 and 2013 for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics, but not for others.
- Worst-case needs also affect all types of households. In 2013, 2.8 million families with children, 1.5 million elderly households without children, 2.7 million other “nonfamily” households (unrelated people sharing housing), and 0.7 million “other family” households experienced worst-case needs.
- The vast majority (97 percent) of worst-case housing needs are caused by severe rent burden—that is, paying more than half of income for rent. Inadequate housing caused only 3 percent of worst-case needs.