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WASHINGTON – The Center for Housing Policy recently released the findings of a study on the cost of the U.S. housing market, and the results were sobering and underscore the need for more affordable housing. According to the study that was funded by Freddie Mac – The Housing Landscape for America’s Working Families 2005- one of every eight, or 14.1 million of all U.S. families, had critical housing needs in 2003, meaning they paid more than half their income for housing or lived in “physically dilapidated conditions.” Specifically, in 1997 2.4 million working families spent more than half their income on housing; in 2003 this number increased to 4.2 million. Another interesting finding of the study showed that in 1997 the number of working families with critical housing needs was split about 50/50 between owners and renters, but by 2003 the number of homeowners with critical housing needs reached 55% and the number of renters with these needs was lower at 45%. What’s more, when comparing suburbs to central cities, most homeowners with critical housing needs lived in the suburbs, and one out of four lived in central cities. Forty-two percent of all working families with critical housing needs lived in the suburbs in 2003. The study also compared immigrant working families to non-immigrant American working families and found that immigrant families are 75% more likely to pay more than half their income for housing. The housing Government Sponsored Enterprise estimates a total of five million of these families are low- to moderate-income working families. In addition, six out of 10 immigrant working families with critical housing needs are Hispanic. One-third are from Mexico. Barbara Lipman, research director for the Center for Housing Policy, said the new findings of Freddie Mac’s study “shed light on a troubling trend across America – working a full-time job does not guarantee families a decent, affordable place to live.”

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