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More than 8 million renter households were identified as having “worst case housing needs,” or burdened by rent and/or living in unsuitable conditions, in 2015, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—the second-highest share ever recorded. Those labeled “worst case” are renters with very low incomes and no government housing assistance who are spending more than half their monthly income on rent and/or living in substandard housing. Need is spread out across demographics and regions.

The share of “worst case” households has grown 66 percent since 2001, with significant spikes between 2007 and 2011, the report shows. The share of “worst case” Hispanic renters totaled 47 percent in 2015, while the share of “worst case” non-Hispanic white renters totaled 45 percent and the share of “worst case” non-Hispanic black renters totaled 37 percent.

The highest concentrations of “worst case” households are in the New York metropolitan area (815,000), the Los Angeles metropolitan area (567,000) and the Chicago metropolitan area (242,000).

The agency states the Trump Administration is “seeking to stimulate the production and preservation of affordable housing…by pursuing housing finance reform [to] unwind the federal government’s role in the private mortgage market and ease the stress on rental markets.”

“Two years ago, our nation was still feeling the aftershocks of our housing recession with rents growing faster than many families’ incomes,” says HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “After years of trying to keep up with rising rents, it’s time we take a more holistic look at how government at every level, working with the private market and others, can ease the pressure being felt by too many unassisted renters. Today’s affordable rental housing crisis requires that we take a more business-like approach on how the public sector can reduce the regulatory barriers so the private markets can produce more housing for more families.”

Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

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