HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-250
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 2:00 P.M Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD office September 20, 2000


WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today a new report by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition confirms HUD’s own studies that show that it’s more important than ever for Congress to approve measures to increase the availability of subsidized housing.

The Coalition’s report, titled Out of Reach 2000 (, concludes that in virtually every state and every metropolitan area, a large percentage of low-income Americans – especially those earning only the minimum wage – are unable to afford decent rental housing.

"This report documents that affordable housing is out of reach for many Americans, especially the lowest income workers, because rents continue to increase dramatically while the minimum wage has not," Cuomo said.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition released the report today at a news conference attended by Cuomo and Senators John Kerry (MA) and James Jeffords (VT).

The report’s authors found that there is no single U.S. jurisdiction where minimum wage workers can afford the rent for a typical apartment in their communities. According to the report, in order to afford a typical rent for a two-bedroom rental unit in the U.S., a worker would have to earn $12.47 per hour, more than twice the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour. In other words, a worker earning minimum wage would have to work 97 hours a week to afford the typical rent for a two-bedroom rental unit.

Cuomo said the report confirmed HUD studies that showed there is a reverse side to the good economy as rents are driven up faster than inflation. According to HUD’s recent report to Congress, more than 5.4 million families have worst-case housing needs, which is an all-time high.

Cuomo said that President Clinton in February proposed a HUD budget for fiscal year 2001 that included significant initiatives to reduce the cost of housing, such as increased funding for Section 8 subsidies, including a new production initiative, public housing and block grants to cities and states.

"Unfortunately, both the House and Senate have developed versions of our budget which, if enacted into law, will not fund these very initiatives, making a bad situation worse," Cuomo said.

Specifically, the Senate last week rejected the President’s request for an additional 120,000 rental housing assistance vouchers, including 10,000 for the production of new units. Other cuts included: $50 million from the HOME program to expand homeownership; $75 million from homeless assistance programs; $50 million from programs to revitalize public housing; and $28 million from programs to help more than 5,000 people with AIDS get housing. However, the Senate has acknowledged the need for a new production initiative through its $1 billion proposal.

In addition to the Administration’s current budget requests, Cuomo last week eased the housing crunch by increasing the Fair Market Rent -- and thus, the dollar amount of rental vouchers -- in targeted areas, a move expected to increase by 25 percent the pool of apartments available to those who use the vouchers in those areas.


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