Worst Case Housing Needs 2009: A Report to Congress

Barry L. Steffen, Keith Fudge, Marge Martin, Maria Teresa Souza, David A. Vandenbroucke, Yung-Gann David Yao

February 2011

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Worst Case Housing Needs 2009: Report to Congress examines the causes of and trends in worst case needs for affordable rental housing.  HUD finds dramatic increases in worst case housing needs that cut across demographic groups, household types, and regions. This rise in hardship is due to shrinking incomes and upward pressure on rents caused by growing competition for already-scarce affordable units. Worst case needs rose more sharply between the 2007 American Housing Survey (AHS) and 2009 AHS, both in absolute and percentage terms, than in any previous 2-year period since at least 1985. During this 2007-to-2009 period, the number of renters experiencing worst case needs jumped by more than 20 percent, from 5.91 to 7.10 million. Given the severely challenged economic conditions that the United States has confronted during the past several years, particularly surrounding the housing market, it is not surprising that the need for housing assistance continues to outpace the ability of federal, state, and local governments to supply it.

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