Rental Market Dynamics: Is Affordable Housing for the Poor and Endangered Species?
Using American Housing Survey (AHS) data, HUD reports to Congress periodically on the number of poor households with severe housing needs. HUD classifies a household as experiencing severe housing problems if the household is a renter household, does not receive housing assistance, and has income less than 50 percent of area median income and if either of the following conditions holds: (a) the ratio of gross rent to household income is greater than 50 percent or (b) the unit contains severe physical problems as reported in the AHS. The most recent report to Congress found 4,860,000 poor renter households in 1999 with severe housing problems. In 94 percent of these cases, the poor household was paying more than 50 percent of its income for housing. Eleven percent of the households that counted as worst case needs households failed the severe physical problems test. (HUD)
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