On August 9, HUD issued to Congress its 16th report on worst case housing needs in the United States, based on 2015 data. Households with “worst case needs” are those that are very low income, do not receive government housing assistance and either pay more than 1/2 of their income for rent or live in severely inadequate conditions, or both. Findings include:
- Severe housing problems are increasing despite a decent economy.
- In 2015, 8.30 million households had worst case needs. This is an increase from 7.72 million in 2013. The record high for worst case needs is 8.48 million in 2011.
Worst case needs affect all types of households, whether examined by age and ethnicity, household structure, or locationwithin metropolitan areas or region.
The report identifies a shift from homeownership to renting as the biggest cause of the increase in worst case needs. For those of us who work with assisted housing or low-income families, its findings are unfortunately not a big surprise. However, it underscores the significant unmet needs of so many low-income families.