NAHRO Statement on “Worst Case Housing Needs: 2017 Report to Congress"


On August 9, HUD released the sixteenth edition of the “Worst Case Housing Needs: 2017 Report to Congress.” The report finds that in 2015 there were 8.3 million unassisted low-income households in the U.S. that were experiencing “worst case housing” by spending more than half of their income on rent, living in severely substandard housing conditions, or both.

A few highlights of the report include the following:

  • Overall, the number of households with worst case needs has increased by 8 percent since 2013.
  • In 2015, there were 2.9 million families with children and 1.9 million elderly households experiencing worst case needs.
  • The number of households with worst case needs increased across all racial and ethnic groups and increased among all types of households.

“This HUD report affirms what we know: access to affordable rental housing is a national issue.” stated Adrianne Todman, CEO of NAHRO.  “We must act with urgency to ensure that our families, seniors, and emerging adults have viable housing options.”  

Todman continued, “We cannot and should not underestimate the negative impact of the report’s findings on education, health, and economic mobility outcomes. Access to affordable housing creates opportunities.”

NAHRO is committed to reducing the number of households that are experiencing a “worst case housing” situation, and calls on the federal government to:

  • Increase the Production of Affordable Housing

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) has been a critical source of equity for approximately 3 million affordable housing units over the last 30 years. Despite LIHTC’s success, it has been 17 years since Congress last increased the number of available credits. Bills in both the House and Senate would permanently authorize the 4 percent LIHTC rate and increase the available credits by 50% - stabilizing and increasing the amount of equity available for affordable housing production.

  • Support the Preservation of Affordable Housing

The Public Housing Capital Fund provides critical resources that housing authorities across the country use to rehabilitate and modernize their properties. However, in 2010, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that there is a $26 billion backlog in needed repairs that have gone unfunded.  HUD also estimated that these needs grow at a rate of $3.4 billion per year. This year Congress provided only $1.9 billion for the Capital Fund.  NAHRO recommends that the Capital Fund receive $5 billion annually.

  • Fully Fund Rental Assistance

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program provides rental assistance to nearly 2.2 million households, including families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, households displaced by disasters, homeless veterans, and children aging out of the foster care system. The HCV program must be fully funded.

  • Empower Affordable Housing Providers to Meet Local Needs

Affordable housing providers, large and small, are under excessive regulatory burdens that have an adverse impact on their ability to maximize funding for affordable housing. NAHRO strongly advocates that HUD review and remove regulations that restrict innovation and effectiveness of the local affordable housing providers.

NAHRO has also dedicated the month of August to advocacy campaigns throughout the nation. Learn more about August Advocacy here and join the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #AugustAdvocacy and by following @NAHROnational.    



Carmen Smith