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Housing

Severe Housing Needs May Return to Foreclosure-Crisis Levels

Despite the buoyant economy, the number of hardest-hit households is close to record levels of the foreclosure crisis in 2011.
Homeowners facing foreclosure over tax debts wait for their cases to be heard in Detroit in January 2015.
Homeowners facing foreclosure over tax debts wait for their cases to be heard in Detroit in January 2015.Paul Sancya/AP

A new report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this month shows that the number of American households facing worst-case housing scenarios is returning to the record crisis levels seen during the foreclosure crisis.

The 2017 report on Worst-Case Housing Needs finds that 8.3 million households suffered extreme housing conditions in 2015, an increase of more than 580,000 households over 2013. HUD defines “worst-case housing needs” as very low–income households who do not receive government aid for housing and who pay more than one-half of their income toward rent or live in unsafe conditions (or both). CityLab’s Tanvi Misra plotted out where the worst-off families are living today.