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HUD recently released Worst Case Housing Needs 2009: A Report to Congress.

HUD recently released Worst Case Housing Needs 2009: A Report to Congress. This report, part of a long-standing series, details major housing problems faced by American renter families. HUD defines the term "worst case needs" as very low-income families who do not receive housing assistance and who either pay more than half their monthly income for rent, or live in severely substandard housing, or both. In 2009, there were 7.10 million worst case needs households — a major (20%) increase over the level previously reported in 2007.

Key Findings:
·  There has been a disturbing overall upward trend in worst case housing needs, with an almost 42% increase since 2001; more than 6% of all households are now facing such needs.
·  Dramatic increases in worst case needs were caused by shrinking incomes, as well as rent increases due to increased competition among low-income families for fewer affordable units.
·  Worst case needs affects all demographic groups and household types. Every racial/ethnic group experienced increases in worst case needs during 2007–2009, with Hispanic households having the largest increase in incidence (8 percentage points).
·  Higher-income families are competing for a limited number of affordable rental units, further driving down already low vacancy rates for the lowest-rent units. Only 36 of every 100 extremely low-income renters have affordable units available to them.
·  The share of worst case needs among very low-income renters with disabilities increased from 37.5% to 40.7% between 2007 and 2009.
·  The availability of affordable rental housing varies across regions of the country. The supply is most scarce in the West, where only 53 units are available per 100 very low-income renter households, compared with 65 in the South, 66 in the Northeast, and 87 in the Midwest.


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