HUD Reports Record-Breaking Worst Case Housing Needs

According to HUD’s Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: Report to Congress, the number of renters with worst case housing needs grew to a record 8.48 million in 2011, from a previous high of 7.10 million in 2009. There has been a 43% increase in worst case housing needs since 2007. HUD released the full report on August 16, after having released an executive summary of the report in February (see Memo, 2/22).

“Worst case housing needs” are those of very low income (below 50% of Area Median Income) renters who do not receive government housing assistance and who either spend more than half of their income on rent, live in severely inadequate conditions, or who face both of these challenges. The vast majority of households with worst case housing needs have severe housing cost burdens, while 3% live in severely inadequate conditions.

The gap between worst case housing needs and assisted households is the highest ever recorded, with two worst case housing needs households for every one assisted household.

No household type, demographic group, or region was unaffected by the growth of worst case housing needs from 2009 to 2011. Nearly 4 in 10 (38.2%) worst case housing needs households in 2011 were families with children, followed by non-family renters (35%) and the elderly without children (17.3%). While very low income families with children are a high proportion of worst case housing needs households, only one in four very low income families with children receive assistance. Forty-eight percent of new worst case housing needs households were among white, 28% among Hispanic, and 13% among black households.

On the national level, 44% of very low income households have worst case housing needs; this rate is slightly higher in the West and slightly lower in the Northeast and Midwest. Further, the prevalence of worst case housing needs is slightly higher in suburbs and somewhat lower in non-metropolitan areas. Housing assistance plays an important role in reducing worst case housing needs but is relatively less common in suburbs where only 18.4% of very low income households are assisted.

Worst Case Housing Needs 2011 identifies household formation, renter share, renter income losses, renter assistance gap, and affordable unit competition as contributing factors to the growth in worst case housing needs. The likelihood of a very low income renter facing worst case housing needs increased from 41.4% in 2009 to 43.9% in 2011. The increase in worst case housing needs is explained primarily by the increased number of renters. The report suggests that the number of renter households increased because of foreclosures and unemployment, forcing previous homeowners to turn to the rental market. New household formations also added more renters. Together, new household formations and share of renters added 1.38 million in worst case housing needs (53% of the total increase from 2009 to 2011).

Competition for affordable housing also continued to grow—higher income renters occupy 38.4% of the units affordable to ELI renters, 34.4% of the units affordable to VLI renters, and 29.9% of the units affordable to LI renters.

The nation no longer has enough affordable units for renters at the lowest incomes even if allocation were perfect. The vacancy rate for units affordable to ELI households is at an all-time low with just 5.4% vacant (compared to 13.1% in 2009) and this at-risk population faces the tightest market since HUD began to measure worst case housing needs in 1985. The report concluded by raising the importance of housing vouchers to assist the 8.48 million households with worst case housing needs.

This report is the 14th in the series that HUD prepares for Congress using the latest American Housing Survey to discuss trends and causes of worst case housing needs.

The full report is available here:

Towns Try to Take Back Water Systems

The Wall Street Journal published an article this week about Municipalities that have recently attempted to gain control of their water systems due to rate increases. Private firms are defending their rate increases, saying they have had to spend money to improve the infrastructure and are entitled to make a profit.

RCAP Solutions is the Northeast affiliate of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, a national network of regional nonprofit organizations that provide comprehensive, on-site technical assistance and training to help small, rural communities address their drinking water, wastewater, and other community development needs. We provide services in all six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If your community needs assistance managing your water system, or if  you are looking for information on resources available for your community, please visit our Community Resources Page or contact Maegen McCaffrey, Chief Communications Officer at 978-630-6714 or email

Please click here for the article:  Towns Try to Take Back Water Systems


Wastewater Operator Training A Success!


The RCAP Solutions Operator Training Summer Tour of 2013 was a great success!

Workshops were held in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

These newly developed programs – geared for new and intermediate level wastewater operators – offered up to 8 hours of approved contact time at no cost to the town.


Topics included: Clean Water Act & NPDES Program, Overview of Wastewater Treatment, Discharge Monitoring Reports, Intro to Chemistry and Sampling and Preservation.

The courses were well received by all participants and attendees indicated they would be interested in additional training.

Over the 4 days of training, approximately 40 individuals attended the training with representatives from 14 communities with Publicly owned treatment works.



Top – Karen A. Koller, RCAP President & CEO welcomes the group  and provides an overview of RCAP Solutions Programs and services.

Middle – David Cotton, Consultant with Cotton Enviromental, LLC presents to a packed room at RCAP Solutions Worcester Training Room.

Bottom – Sukhwindar Singh, RCAP Solutions Director of Education and Training presents the chemistry training module.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for all workshops and include high visibility with speaking and promotional opportunities at workshops, logo on all publicity, etc.  For more information on our training programs, please contact Sukhwindar Singh, Director of Education and Training, Phone: 412-554-2572 / Email:

RCAP lauded in Washington Examiner

InTheNews1Last Friday, the Washington Examiner, a local Washington, DC newspaper ran an article about The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) titled “Why are federal agencies completely funding this private nonprofit group?”.

RCAP Solutions is the Northeast affiliate of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, a national network of nonprofit organizations working to ensure that rural and small communities throughout the United States have access to safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal.

In this article, the author admits that he was skeptical about RCAP’s work, but that researching the organization made him realize what important and valuable work the RCAP network does. He concludes by saying that while he’s no fan of the federal government, he does support smart government programs, like those that fund RCAP, that help people help themselves.

For more information about RCAP and our affiliation with this national program, please visit our partnership page on our webiste: