HUD Archives: News Releases


HUD No. 00-63
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 Monday
Or contact your local HUD office March 27, 2000

GOOD TIMES FOR MANY DON'T END HARD TIMES FOR LOW INCOME RENTERS

Despite Economic Boom, HUD Finds Affordable Housing Crisis Deepening

View the Worst Case Needs Executive Summary
View the Worst Case Needs Full Report
View Worst Case Needs Reports for Selected Metropolitan Areas
View Comments on HUD's Worst Case Needs Report

WASHINGTON - Despite America's continued economic expansion, a new report to Congress issued today finds that a record 5.4 million low-income families need housing assistance due to a shrinking number of affordable rental units.

"These findings make a clear and compelling case for greater federal attention to our nations housing needs," said Secretary Cuomo. "With worst case housing needs at record levels, there is an urgent need to strengthen federal efforts to assure adequate supplies of decent, safe and affordable housing for America's lowest income families."

Cuomo said the HUD report to Congress documents the need for a series of initiatives that President Clinton has requested in his proposed 2001 budget to increase the supply of affordable housing, including: $690 million for 120,000 new rental assistance vouchers; $1.2 billion in funding for homeless grants; and $1.65 billion for HOME program grants.

Cuomo made the announcement today at a press conference where he was joined by Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Cuomo said that a recent analysis place the value of FHA insurance fund at more than $5 billion above previous projections. President Clinton directed other agencies to develop recommendations on how best to use these funds to strengthen federal housing programs and enhance comprehensive affordable housing opportunities. HUD's recommendations will reflect the worst case needs reflected in this report, said Cuomo.

The report, Rental Housing Assistance- The Worsening Crisis, lists six major findings:

  • At least 5.4 million unassisted very-low-income families pay over half their income for housing or live in severely distressed housing, an increase of 12% since the economic recovery began in 1991.
  • Families with worst case housing needs are working harder than ever. Between 1991 and 1997, despite a robust economic recovery, worst case housing needs increased more than three times as quickly for households with full time earners than for all other very low-income renters.
  • The housing stock affordable to the lowest income Americans continues to shrink, with rental units affordable to families with incomes below 30% of area median income down by 5 percent between 1991 and 1997, a decline of over 370,000 units.
  • Between 1991 and 1997, worst case needs became more concentrated among households with incomes below 30% of the area median income; and 77% of those with worst case needs - 4.2 million - have extremely low income.
  • Worst case housing needs among minority household increased dramatically during the 1990s, while needs of non-Hispanic whites were stable. Increases were particularly high among Hispanic households - up 45% between 1991 and 1997 - and working minority families with children.
  • Both very low renters and extremely low renters remain more likely to have worst case problems in the suburbs than elsewhere. Whereas nationally 37% of very-low-income renters have worst case problems, over 40% of very low income renters and 69% of extremely-low income renters living in the suburbs have worst case housing needs.

OTHER MAJOR FINDINGS

  • WORST CASE NEEDS CONTINUE TO BE A PERSISTENT PROBLEM FOR ALL DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS
  • HOUSING SHORTAGES ARE WORST IN THE WEST
  • VERY LOW INCOME RENTERS ARE PAYING MORE THAN HALF THEIR INCOME ON RENT

Very-low-income renter households with severe rent burdens rose by 500,000 families between 1995 and 1997. In 1997, 6.4 million very-low-income renters had a severe rent burden, a sharp increase from 5.9 million in 1995.

On a national average, extremely low incomes are defined as less than $13,590 for a family of four and $10,872 for a family of two. Almost 70 percent of such households that are not receiving HUD assistance pay more than half their income for rent or live in severely inadequate housing.

POLICY IMPLICATIONS

The HUD report says its findings have significant implications for federal housing policy:

  • "Rental assistance is a critical and flexible tool that provides access to decent and affordable housing for low-income families of all backgrounds including the elderly, working The Federal Government must continue to expand rental assistance," the report says, adding that the President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2001, which includes funding for 120,000 incremental Section 8 vouchers, will be an important step towards closing this affordable housing gap.
  • Federal rental assistance is critical for working families with worst case needs, whose incomes are increasingly consumed by rent, leaving them less able to spend on food, medical care, education, or other necessities.
  • Other Federal programs that help provide permanent affordable housing including the Housing for People with AIDS and Shelter Plus Care, Section 202, and the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons With Disabilities Program should also be expanded.

WAYS TO INCREASE THE SUPPLY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING

President Clinton's proposed 2001 budget seeks $690 million in funds for 120,000 rental housing vouchers to reduce worst case housing needs.

HUD's FY 2000 budget includes 60,000 new rental assistance vouchers, following the approval of 50,000 vouchers last year after four years of no new vouchers.

A total of 32,000 new vouchers would be provided through a $183 million welfare-to-work initiative to provide stable housing to families moving off the welfare rolls to join the workforce.

Also as part of the President's budget proposal to create new rental assistance vouchers, 18,000 vouchers would be provided at a cost of $105 million for homeless people moving from shelter care into permanent homes.

In addition, the 2001 budget asks for $58 million to provide an additional 10,000 vouchers as part of HUD's housing production program. Because the vouchers will be limited to no more than 25 percent of the units in any new development, the program will encourage the construction of at least 40,000 units of mixed-income housing.

ADDITIONAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING INITIATIVES

Other programs in the President's proposed 2001 budget that would enable HUD to help more poor people get affordable housing include:

  • Elderly Housing Production at $779 million, a $19 million increase, to create housing tailored to the needs of senior citizens.
  • The Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance grant program at $1.2 billion, a $180 million increase, to fund community-designed solutions to help homeless people get housing and become self-sufficient.
  • $50 million of additional HOME grants for a total of $1.65 billion in resources to provide 92,000 units of affordable housing for owners and renters through construction, rehabilitation and acquisition activities.
  • $86 million in increased funding to finance capital improvements in public housing, boosting total capital improvement funding to $2.955 billion. Capital funds may be used to upgrade viable housing units, demolish obsolete units, provide continued assistance to displaced families, or build replacement units. In addition, funding for the HOPE VI program, which demolishes and replaces severely deteriorated public housing, would increase by $50 million to a total of $625 million.
  • $28 million in additional funds for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, for a total of $260 million - a 12 percent increase. The program helps people with AIDS who need housing assistance because of the high costs of treating their disease or because they have been unable to work due to their illness. The funding would provide assistance for about 48,000 housing units and would provide related services to about 60,000 people.

 

COMMENTS ON HUD's WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS REPORT
"RENTAL HOUSING ASSISTANCE - THE WORSENING CRISIS"

Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (MD), Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee - "It deeply concerns me that during this period of unprecedented economic growth, with low inflation, low unemployment, and higher wages, that this report reveals that our country has a record number of low income families struggling to pay their rents," said. "We must renew our efforts in these times of prosperity to help those who need our help the most."

Senator John Kerry (MA), Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs - "According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2000 'Worst case Housing Needs Report,' a record high 5.4 million working families are experiencing worst case needs for housing assistance. At the height of America's economic prosperity, that is simply unacceptable. The HUD report demonstrates that minority households have been most severely effected by this severe housing crunch. Now is the time to commit the resources necessary to address this growing crisis in housing affordability. I will be introducing legislation this session to create a "Housing Trust Fund," where we can set aside funding to increase affordable housing options."

Senator Patrick Leahy (VT), Member of the Senate VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee - "The rising cost and the increasing scarcity of basic housing are the volatile ingredients of a worsening crisis that is gripping millions of struggling families and their communities. The Secretary's report arrives just as Congress begins setting budget priorities, and it will give the plight of these families more of the attention they deserve. It will also lend a greater sense of urgency on Capitol Hill to actually helping these families."

Senator Tom Harkin, (IA), Member of the Senate VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee - "Despite our strong economy, too many Americans can't afford a decent place to live. We need to take steps to make housing more affordable for them."

Congressman John J. LaFalce (NY), Ranking Minority Member on the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services - "This year's report clearly and emphatically supports this Administration's call for increased federal investment in housing for the very poor. I believe the Congress must be vigilant in preserving and increasing funding for housing programs."

Congressman Alan B. Mollohan (WV) - "HUD's Worst Case Housing Needs report is a valuable tool for understanding what's going on in the housing market. It again reminds us that even in this booming economy far too many people of modest means are having great trouble affording a decent place to live."

Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek (FL), Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD- and Independent Agencies - "This report highlights what many of us have known all along, that the present prosperity has not reached a substantial part of our citizenry, and that the needs of the least of thees amongs continue to go unmet. Congress should act now to approve the Administrationís request for the additional housing vouchers to help meet this glaring unmet need."

Congressman David Price (NC) - "HUD's Worst Case Housing Needs report is a sober reminder that even in this robust economy, housing for a large segment of our population is out of reach. No one should be forced to spend more than 30 percent of their income just to have a roof over their family's head. We need to remain vigilant during the funding process to seek out innovative ways to assist families in finding affordable housing. Let's reverse the trend that is shrinking the affordable housing stock for struggling Americans."

Congressman Charles A. Gonzalez (TX), member of the House Banking Committee - "This year's HUD report clearly indicates the need to focus more attention on the housing needs among minority households, especially among Hispanics. Affordable housing is a key component of the American dream, and this report indicates that more needs to be done for it to be attained."

Monica Hilton Sussman, President of the National Housing Conference - "This most recent report from HUD once again documents the ever increasing number of lower income households without adequate affordable housing, and, once again, the critical need to produce more affordable housing has been demonstrated. We have the tools. What's needed is the political will to significantly increase funding for such programs as the low-income housing tax credit, private activity bonds, HOME and Section 8 vouchers. The Administration's FY2001 proposals are a step in that direction, but we must go much farther much quicker to address this ever increasing crisis."

Sheila Crowley, President, National Low Income Housing Coalition - HUD'S Worst Case Housing Needs Report does more than paint a stark picture of housing in America. The report illustrates more clearly than ever the fact that the nation's most prosperous period in history has not only left millions behind, but has occurred at the expense of the poorest families in America. That a record expansion has not benefited millions of families, and has in fact cost hundreds of thousands the opportunity to live in safe, decent, affordable housing, is the surest indicator that the nation's lack of attention to the affordable housing crisis cannot continue. It is Congress's turn to respond. Our prosperity as a nation is not whole, and should not be celebrated, until affordable housing is available to all families in America.

 

WORST CASE NEEDS REPORTS FOR SELECTED METROPOLITAN AREAS

Anaheim
Atlanta
Baltimore
Birmingham
Boston
Buffalo
Charlotte
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Columbus
Dallas
Washington, DC
Detroit
Fort Worth
Hartford
Houston
Indianapolis
Kansas City
Los Angeles
Memphis
Miami
Milwaukee
Minneapolis
Newark
New Orleans
Newport News
New York
Oakland
Oklahoma City
Philadelphia
Phoenix
Pittsburgh
Portland
Providence
Rochester
Sacramento
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose
Seattle
St. Louis
Tampa
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Content Archived: December 13, 2009