Posted May 11, 2015 by RentJungleAccording to data released by the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the number of people with "severe housing problems" has declined between 2011 and 2013. What are the criteria of those with "severe housing problems?" According to the Washington Post, HUD categorizes those with these problems as people who:
"...make less than 50 percent of the area median income, spend more than half their income on rent and don't have any housing subsidies."Many people were forced into the "severe" category during the economic recession, as a result of job loss and foreclosure. Currently, though, unemployment is at an all-time low for the first time since the recession began. Foreclosures have gone down and apartment construction and federal housing subsidies have both increased, which has eased some of the financial burdens on the nation's poor. According to HUD, citizens categorized with "worst case needs" dropped from 8.5 million in 2011 to 7.7 million in 2013. While these numbers are encouraging, the amount of relief is minute compared to the overall state of the rental market.
Just because the national economy has experienced an upswing, the economic improvements have not assisted all types of renters. Elderly renters on a fixed income have not been affected by the increase in jobs, which has not relieved their financial burden of high-cost rent, and overall, the cost of rent is still way higher than it was before the recession began, with "worst case needs" up 49% compared to 2003.
Just one example of the nation's unaffordable rental market is a recent incident in New York City. A 33-story complex in Manhattan received a staggering 88,000 applications for its 55 affordable housing units. To qualify for these low-income units, applicants had to have made less than $50,304 per year for a family of four. The top rent for the affordable units in the complex costs $1,082 per month.
While the HUD study shows some relief has been felt, this is clearly the exception to the high-rent ruling market.