The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Amy Clark 202-662-1530 x227;

HUD Report Shows Unprecedented Increase in Need for Housing Aid


HUD's biannual report
to Congress on the housing needs of low income Americans shows that a
record number of very low income households have severe housing
problems, particularly housing costs that far exceed what they can
afford to pay. The National Low Income Housing Coalition calls on
Congress and the Administration to heed the findings of the Worst Case Housing Needs 2009 report and spare federal housing aid programs from the budget cuts that many are threatening.

"finds dramatic increases in worst case housing needs that cut across
demographic groups, household types, and regions," according to the
report. The report measures both the incidence of people severely
burdened by the cost of their rents, and the incidence of people living
in severely inadequate housing.

in these two types of housing need have occurred just as many in
Congress have suggested that the path to the nation's economic
sustainability is through cuts to safety net programs like affordable
housing. Sheila Crowley, President of the National Low Income Housing
Coalition said, "Cuts to the programs in existence today would cause
increases in many of the other indicators of need tracked by HUD, such
as the rising rate of homelessness in the US. These data show that the
imperative should be to expand and improve low income housing programs."

more resources to solve the housing problems of the lowest income
families will in fact create more jobs in construction, a sector that
has a 20% rate of unemployment, over twice the overall rate of 9.4%. The
National Housing Trust Fund, which was established in 2008 but has not
yet been funded, is an infrastructure program that will reduce the
shortage of quality affordable rental homes, create thousands of jobs,
and bring immediate gains to national, state and local economies, all
without adding to the national debt.

In Worst Case Housing Needs, HUD reports the following:

  • In 2009 there were 7.1 million worst case needs households in the US, up significantly from 5.9 million just two years prior;
  • Only 32 units of adequate, affordable rental housing are available for every 100 extremely low income renters;
  • The supply of adequate housing available to low income people is most scarce in the West;
  • The South has the highest number of cost-burdened renters of any region of the country; and
  • Fewer than one in four very low income renters currently receives housing assistance.

finds the increase in worst case housing need to be linked to three
contributing factors: Shrinking incomes of renters, the need for housing
assistance far outpacing the increase in the availability of such
assistance, and increased competition for a shrinking pool of adequate,
affordable rental units.

National Low Income Housing Coalition calls for full funding of the
National Housing Trust Fund at $15 billion a year for 10 years, doubling
the number of housing vouchers, and preserving all existing federally
assisted housing units.

The report can be found online at

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America's affordable housing crisis. Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides up-to-date information, formulates policy and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.