Accession Number: 50073
Title: Measuring Homeowner Needs for Housing Assistance.
Author(s): Helbers, Lawrence
Publication Date: 02/1978
Sponsoring Organization(s): U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Washington, DC
Performing Organization(s): Rand Corp.
Santa Monica, CA
Availability: HUD USER, P.O. Box 23268, Washington, DC 20026-3268; phone (800) 245-2691; fax (202) 708-9981; or TDD (800) 927-7589
Descriptors: Experimental housing allowances. Homeowner assistance. Elderly homeowners. Housing costs. Single parents. Maintenance costs.
Abstract: This study analyzes the housing expenses of a marketwide sample of homeowners in Brown County, Wis., and St. Joseph County, Ind., comparing those expenses to the level of consumption they afford and to the owners' financial resources. The surveys provide detailed data on homeowners' cash and noncash housing expenses, income, and assets. About 60 percent of the homeowners earning under $7,000 annually in these two counties spend over one - third of their income for housing, and over 80 percent spend over one - fourth of their income for housing. Elderly homeowners, constituting the largest share of those with excessive expense burdens, often occupy more space than seems reasonable for a couple or single person. This overconsumption of housing contributes to their financial problems. The housing allowance programs in Brown and St. Joseph Counties have estimated the standard costs of adequate rental housing for families of each size and use these figures to test applicants' needs for financial assistance. Applying program accounting rules to homeowners, it was estimated that 13 percent of all homeowners in Brown County and 19 percent in St. Joseph County would have to spend more than one - fourth of adjusted gross income for standard housing and thus were eligible for assistance. Since this test takes no account of actual housing expenses, it shows clearly that overconsumption is not the general explanation of the excessive housing expense burdens observed. The majority of the needy homeowners are elderly, but single parents and young couples with children are well represented in this group. Those living in homes built before 1950 tend to undermaintain them, habitually spending less for maintenance and replacements than do their more prosperous counterparts. Even taking this into account, their housing expenses are usually well over one - fourth of their income. Comparing elements of these complete accounts of homeowners' housing expenses in these two counties to corresponding elements in the fragmentary accounts available from national data, it is concluded that the high housing expense burdens in Brown and St. Joseph Counties are found throughout the Nation. A review of current Federal tax laws and housing programs shows that they offer little aid to low - income homeowners. Supporting data are contained in tables, figures, and the appendices.