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HUD report to Congress assesses housing affordability

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development today reported the number of low-income households paying excessive rent or living in substandard conditions remains essentially unchanged from the mid-1990s. In its "Affordable Housing Needs" report to Congress, HUD found that in 2003, a total of 5.18 million low-income households experienced critical housing needs compared to 5.2 million households in 1995. Households with "worst-case needs" are defined as unassisted renters with very low incomes (below 50 percent of area median income) who pay more than half their income for housing or live in severely substandard conditions, HUD said. HUD's most recent survey finds that the number of such households has remained stable over time. The proportion of American families that have these worst-case needs is 4.89 percent. "This survey tells us that while the number of American households that experience these greatest needs remains fairly constant, it's still too high," said Darlene Willia...