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There is no single approach for determining what share of the need for rental assistance is currently being met. But here’s one approach to developing an estimate. According to HUD’s latest report to Congress on worst case housing needs, 9.16 million renter households reported having a severe housing problem in 2011, defined as paying more than half their income for housing or living in severely inadequate housing, without benefitting from government rental assistance. Another 7.42 million unassisted renter households had a moderate housing problem, spending 30 to 50 percent of their income for housing or living in housing that is moderately inadequate. (Both figures exclude households with incomes above 80 percent of the area median income—households which are not eligible for rental assistance.)
If we define the need narrowly and say that only households with a severe housing problem have a need for it (plus those receiving assistance, of course), then the 5.30 million households we’re currently serving represent 37 percent of the population in need = 5.30 / (9.16 + 5.30). If we define the need more broadly, and say that all households with a severe or moderate housing problem have a need for it, then we’re currently serving about 24 percent of the population in need = 5.30 / (9.16 + 7.42 + 5.30).
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