Not so affordable HUD homes

By Bill Holloway

A recent study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University found that 44 percent of HUD-subsidized households spend at least 15 percent of their income on transportation. In their Housing + Transportation Index the Center for Neighborhood Technology uses 15 percent of area median income as the benchmark for transportation affordability, and low-income households by definition have even less money to spend than those with median incomes.

The research, which appeared in the February 17 issue of Housing Policy Debate, focused on an analysis of transportation costs at 8,857 HUD rental assistance properties in 322 different urban areas of the U.S., ranging from relatively dense areas like Boston and Portland, OR, to lower density metros like Houston and Kansas City. The authors found that transportation amounts to more than 15 percent of household income for 44 percent of all HUD-subsidized households and for all properties analyzed in 70 of the 322 urban areas.

When transportation costs are included, total costs for HUD-subsidized households were lowest in the most compact metropolitan areas and highest in more spread out areas.

The researchers suggest several policy changes to improve overall affordability for families in subsidized housing, including directing housing subsidies to more compact, walkable, and transit-served locations; or providing a transportation allowance or larger housing subsidy to HUD-households in areas with higher transportation costs.

See FAU’s news release on the study for more.

Bill Holloway is a Transportation Policy Analyst at SSTI.