HUD-assisted households are more likely to be female-headed, minority, older, and have lower levels of education when compared to all renters that were income-eligible for HUD rental assistance in 2003.
These are just some of the findings from a recent report from HUD on the characteristics of renter householders receiving HUD assistance in the form of public housing, housing vouchers, or privately owned assisted housing.
The report matches survey data on housing units from the biennial national American Housing Survey (AHS) with HUD administrative records of the individual and household characteristics of subsidized households. In doing so, the report is able to present findings on the household, structural, unit, and neighborhood characteristics of all HUD-assisted renters in 2003.
At the household level, for example, assisted households are more likely to be female-headed, comprising more than 70% of all assisted households but only 55% of all income-eligible households. Similarly, more than 40% of all HUD-assisted renters are African American, compared to only 26.8% of all income-eligible renters. Conversely, Hispanics have been underrepresented in HUD housing, accounting for only 17.5% of all HUD-assisted renters but 20.9% of all income-eligible renters. Households in HUD-assisted housing earn around $2,600 less in annual income than all income-eligible renters and, on average, pay $197 less in monthly rent.
HUD-assisted households are also more likely to live in multi-unit buildings in central cities and have fewer bedrooms than the units of all income-eligible renters.
According to survey results of renters who moved within the past year, 62.2% of assisted renters reported that they moved into a better home than before, compared to just 48.9% of all income-eligible renters. A higher percentage of assisted renters also reported moving into better neighborhoods than all other eligible renters.
The report does not address possible reasons for any of the findings.
The report also contains information on developments in these HUD housing programs in the last decade. Since 1993, HUD assistance has shifted away from public housing and privately owned subsidized housing to the tenant-based voucher program, formally known as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. The number of households receiving HUD assistance through vouchers increased to 1.8 million in 2003, a 50% increase from 1993.
The authors use households with incomes of 50% or less of their area median income (AMI), adjusted for family size, as a “lower bound” estimate of the population of households that would be eligible for HUD housing assistance under various subsidy programs. Using this definition, the report finds that in 2003 there were 17 million income-eligible renters, and that just over 4 million households were residing in HUD-assisted rental units. While the number of assisted households was up 6% from the decade before, this represented a similar 13% of total renters. The appendix also includes some data on renters earning 51% to 80% of AMI and households with “worst case needs,” defined as unassisted renters earning 50% of AMI or less who pay half of their income or more for housing or live with severe housing problems.
Along with the summary report, the study provides over 500 pages of data tables on subsidized households in the appendices.
The full report is available at www.huduser.org/publications/pubasst/hud_asst_rent.html