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Rental Housing Assistance - The Worsening Crisis: A Report to Congress on Worst Case Housing Needs


Report Acceptance Date: March 2000

Posted Date: April 21, 2000

This report documents the continuing, growing crisis in housing affordability throughout the Nation. It contains important new information that is critical to ensuring an informed discussion regarding the appropriate Federal responses to this crisis. Specifically, as of 1997:

  • The housing affordability crisis facing very-low-income renters continues to worsen as 5.4 million renter households, a record high, are experiencing worst case needs for housing assistance.

  • The number of working families with worst case housing needs has increased sharply since 1991.

  • The stock of rental units that are affordable to extremely-low-income renters has continued to shrink, with even sharper decreases in units that are both affordable and available to these renters.

  • Worst case needs have become more concentrated among families with extremely low incomes.

  • Worst case needs have increased most quickly in minority households, particularly among working families with children.

  • Very-low-income families remain most likely to face worst case problems when they live in the suburbs.

For fiscal years 1999 and 2000, Congress provided for modest expansion in the number of families assisted by Section 8 vouchers after 4 years with no new assistance. The worsening affordability crisis facing very-low-income families of all demographic backgrounds—including working families with children, minority households, and the elderly—argues strongly for greater expansion in Federal rental housing assistance combined with wise use of Federal supply-side subsidies to boost the production of housing affordable to these families.

This report is part of the collection of Affordable Housing & Worst Case Needs Reports to Congress.


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