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Cityscape: Volume 14 Number 3 | Article 9


Residential Mobility: Implications for Families and Communities

Volume 14 Number 3

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Reducing Worst Case Housing Needs With Assisted Housing

Kirk McClure, University of Kansas


This research note seeks to answer this question: When units of assisted housing are added to a metropolitan market, is there a commensurate reduction in the number of households with worst case housing needs (WCN)? WCN are defined as unassisted renter households with very low incomes (VLIs) that pay more than 50 percent of income on housing or live in severely inadequate housing conditions or experience both.

Previous work estimated the relationship among extremely low-income renter families with children, finding a reduction in WCN of 76 households for each 100 additional assisted units in the market. This work was replicated with more recent data drawn from the larger population of VLI renter households. It found a reduction in WCN of 68 households per 100 units of assistance. There appears to be a threshold in the relationship. In markets in which less than 45 percent of the VLI renter households are assisted, the count of WCN households is reduced by an estimated 92 households per 100 assisted units added. If the percentage of assisted households is greater than 45 percent, no reduction in WCN is found with the introduction of additional assisted units.

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