Measuring homeowner needs for housing assistance

by Lawrence Helbers


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Assesses low-income homeowners' need for housing assistance and evaluates whether current federal housing programs address that need. Looks at market conditions and homeowner housing expenditures and needs in the two counties studied. Using the Housing Assistance Supply Experiment's eligibility formula, it was found that between 13 and 19 percent of all homeowners in the experimental sites require assistance. This study compared homeowners' housing expenditures with their financial resources and learned that an estimated 5.6 million homeowners in the nation spend over a third of their income on housing. Evidence suggests that those costs have forced low-income homeowners to economize by reducing home maintenance. Although the federal government encourages homeownership by tax and mortgage policies and assists some low-income homeowners by granting or lending them money for repairs, no comprehensive program aids low-income households who own homes. Indeed, no articulated policy on such assistance even exists.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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