Recently, HUD’s Office of Policy Development & Research (PD&R) published a congressional report on the percentage of HUD funds allocated to communities with persistent poverty counties and high-poverty areas. The report analyzes 13 HUD programs, including the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), public housing and HOME programs, between fiscal years 2017 and 2020.
The Committee Report defined the two geographies as follows:
- Persistent poverty county: “a county that has had 20 percent or more of its population living in poverty over the past 30 years, as measured by the 1990 and 2000 decennial censuses and the most recent Small Area Income and Poverty estimates.”
- High-poverty area: “any census tract with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent as measured by the 2013–2017 five-year data series available from the American Community Survey of the Census Bureau.”
HUD found that across all programs, HUD funding was more likely to be used in high-poverty areas (census tracts) than in persistent poverty counties. For most programs, the share of funding used in persistent poverty counties was in the range of 6 to 10 percent, while the share of funding used in high poverty areas was in the range of 40 to 60 percent. The public housing program had the highest share of funding in persistent poverty counties (13.6 percent) and high-poverty areas (77.3 percent).
HUD noted in their findings that their mission is to serve households and individuals at the lower end of the income spectrum does not align with individual program requirements that do not have a mandate to provide any minimum of funds to counties or areas of high or persistent poverty. Even for HUD programs where poverty percentages are a major factor in funding allocations, like CDBG and HOME, HUD observed that funding was also concentrated in high-poverty areas.