Substandard Housing

About six million homes in the United States are substandard by American Housing Survey (AHS) standards, a statistic that has seen little change over the last two decades. Below are studies and analyses about the persistence of substandard housing, as well as some local information. The AHS is sponsored by HUD and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

2013 State of Healthy Housing 
NCHH report assessing the health of housing using 20 key factors from the 54 communities sampled by the American Housing Survey. Local communities could create their own assessment of housing quality using similar housing quality characteristics; e.g., interior and exterior leaks, signs of pests, and other factors collected by local public health and code enforcement agencies. Learn more about the report.

The Return of Substandard Housing
This blog post from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) looks at the increase in the number of housing units deemed inadequate impact, potentially due to deferred maintenance during the housing downturn. [url; JCHS, 2013]

The State of the Nation's Housing
Annual report prepared by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) indicates for low-income households that paying a large share of their income for housing does not guarantee housing adequacy (based on the AHS definition). Ten percent of very low-income households (earning $15K or less annually) live in inadequate housing. [url, pdf; JCHS, 2015]

Paying a Steep Price for Substandard Housing
Article about Johns Hopkins University's Three City Study on low-income children and families that addresses the impact substandard housing has on their health and well-being. [url; Boston College Chronicle, 2013]
Substandard Housing and High Impact Repairs
A definition of "substandard housing" developed by the ReFrame Association, a national network of home repair organizations based in central Appalachia. [url; ReFrame Association]

HUD Worst Case Housing Needs: 2015 Report to Congress
Finds that, although worst case housing needs decreased between 2011 and 2013, they persist at high levels across demographic groups, household types, and regions. The unmet need for decent, safe, and affordable rental housing continues to outpace the ability of federal, state, and local governments to supply housing assistance.

Is there a policy or program we should highlight? Please let us know! Contact Julie Kruse.