Worst Case Rental Housing Needs in the Rochester MSA

In the Rochester metropolitan area in 1998, the most recent year for which data are available from the American Housing Survey, 21,400 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 Rochester, was $24,400 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 Rochester area:

  • those with worst-case needs are 17 percent of renters and 5 percent of all households. Some 57 percent of the eligible unassisted very-low-income renters have worst case needs. In 1997, 52 percent of eligible unassisted renters in the U.S., and 59 percent of eligible renters in the Northeast, had worst case needs.
  • 9,000 of the 21,400 households with worst case needs are families with children, and at least 6,600 other households have elderly or disabled members.
  • 62 percent of the worst case heads of household that are not elderly or disabled are working.
  • 35 percent of the worst case households are minorities.
  • 21,000 are paying over half their income for rent, while 1,000 live in severely inadequate housing.
  • fully 89 percent of those with worst case needs live in adequate, uncrowded housing, with severe rent burden as their only housing problem.
  • most - 79 percent - of those with worst case needs have incomes below 30 percent of area median income, which in 1998 was $14,600 per year for a four-person household.

The Rochester area had severe shortages of housing affordable to renters with incomes below 30 percent of median. In 1998, for every 100 renter households with these "extremely low" incomes, there were only 59 units they could afford. And since many of these units were occupied by higher-income renters, only 31 units were both affordable and available for every 100 extremely-low-income renters.

HUD analysis of the Rochester housing market shows that between 1998 and 1990, the year of the previous AHS survey:

  • the number of households with worst case needs rose by 15 percent.
  • the number of renters with incomes below 30 percent of area median rose by 8 percent, while the number of units affordable to them dropped by 6 percent.
  • the shortage of housing affordable to extremely-low-income renters worsened, falling from 68 to only 59 units for every 100 renters.


Content Archived: December 13, 2009