Characteristics of HUD-Assisted People with Disabilities

Characteristics of HUD-Assisted People with Disabilities
Casey Dawkins, Mark Miller
Housing Policy Debate
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The age, sex, income, and geographic distribution of people with disabilities who receive federal housing assistance (e.g., vouchers, multifamily housing, and project-based housing) differs from that of the overall US population with disabilities, according to Casey Dawkins and Mark Miller. Using administrative data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Census Bureau, the authors examine the prevalence of disability (i.e., all people with a disability per 1,000 occupied housing units) and the incidence of disability (i.e., the share of occupied housing units where at one person with a disability lives) among those living in HUD-assisted housing and the general US population. The authors use these two aggregate measures to compare the socioeconomic characteristics of these populations. Dawkins and Miller also examine whether HUD programs designed for people with disabilities serve the intended population, determining the unmet housing needs of HUD-assisted people with disabilities. Although they use different definitions of unmet housing needs for each type of housing assistance, unmet housing needs are generally defined as the mismatch between HUD-assisted households and programs designed to assist people with disabilities. The authors consider the policy implications of their findings.

Key findings

  • Among people living in federally subsidized housing, disability is significantly more prevalent, compared with the general population, for nonelderly adult females.
  • People with disabilities receiving housing assistance from HUD were more prevalent in the West and in central urban counties, but people with disabilities in the general US population were more prevalent in the South and in rural areas.
  • The incidence of disability for HUD-assisted households is highest among those earning the lowest incomes.
  • There is a significant amount of unmet housing program need within the voucher program, multifamily housing, and project-based housing.