Worst Case Rental Housing Needs in the Detroit MSA

In the Detroit metropolitan area in 1995, the most recent year for which data are available from the American Housing Survey, 90,200 households had "worst case" needs for rental housing assistance. These estimates do not include the homeless.

Households are considered to have worst case needs for housing assistance when they:

  • are renters with incomes below 50 percent of area median income (which, in Detroit, was $28,600 for a four-person household in 1998);
  • either pay over half their income for rent or live in severely inadequate housing; and
  • are not assisted by Federal, state, or local housing assistance programs.

In the Detroit area:

  • those with worst-case needs are 18 percent of renters and 5 percent of all households. Some 61 percent of the eligible unassisted very-low-income renters have worst case needs. In 1997, 52 percent of eligible renters in the U.S., and 47 percent of eligible renters in the Midwest, had worst case needs.
  • 42,600 of the 90,200 households with worst case needs are families with children, and at least 19,700 other households have elderly or disabled members.
  • 50 percent of the worst case heads of households that are not elderly or disabled are working.
  • 45 percent of the worst case households are minorities.
  • 83,500 are paying over half their income for rent, while 11,100 live in severely inadequate housing.
  • fully 73 percent of those with worst case needs live in adequate, uncrowded housing, with severe rent burden as their only housing problem.
  • most - 85 percent - of those with worst case needs have incomes below 30 percent of area median income, which in 1998 was $17,200 per year for a four-person household.
  • severe shortages of affordable housing for renters with incomes below 30 percent of median. In 1995, for every 100 renter households with these "extremely low" incomes, there were only 72 units they could afford. And since many of these units were occupied by higher-income renters, only 47 units were both affordable and available for every 100 extremely-low-income renters.

HUD analysis of the Detroit housing market shows that between 1995 and 1989, the year of the previous AHS survey:

  • the number of households with worst case needs rose by 13 percent.
  • the number of renters with incomes below 30 percent of area median rose by 7 percent, while the number of units affordable to them rose by 19 percent.
  • the shortage of housing affordable to extremely-low-income renters eased slightly, rising from 65 to 72 units for every 100 renters.


Content Archived: December 13, 2009