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Terminology

Cost Burdened: Paying more than 30% of its gross income for housing costs. For renters, housing costs include rent paid by the tenant plus utilities. For owners, housing costs include mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and utilities.

Extremely Cost Burdened: Paying more than 50% of its gross income for housing costs. For renters, housing costs include rent paid by the tenant plus utilities. For owners, housing costs include mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and utilities.

Extremely Low-Income: A household is classified as extremely low-income if it earns less than or equal to 30% of the area median family income.

Fair Market Rent or FMR: In general, the FMR for an area is the amount that would be needed to pay the gross rent (shelter rent plus utilities) of privately owned, decent, and safe rental housing of a modest (non-luxury) nature with suitable amenities. Fair market rent determines the eligibility of rental housing units for the Section 8 housing assistance payments program. FMR also serves as the payment standard used to calculate subsidies under the rental voucher program. HUD estimates these annually for 354 metropolitan areas and 2350 nonmetropolitan county FMR areas.

Household Type: For the purpose of examining housing problems, HUD has defined the following household types:

Housing Problem: According to the HUD’s definition of housing problem, a household has a cost burden greater than 30% of income and/or is overcrowded and/or is without complete kitchen or plumbing facilities. (See also cost burdened, overcrowding, plumbing facilities, and kitchen facilities).

Kitchen Facilities: A unit is defined by the Census as having complete kitchen facilities when it has all of the following: (1) a sink with piped water; (2) a range, or cook top and oven; and (3) a refrigerator. All kitchen facilities must be located in the house, apartment, or mobile home, but they need not be in the same room. A housing unit having only a microwave or portable heating equipment, such as a hot plate or camping stove, should not be considered as having complete kitchen facilities. An ice box is not considered to be a refrigerator.

Low-Income: A household is classified as low-income if it earns greater than 50%, but less than or equal to 80% of the area median family income.

Overcrowded: The commonly accepted definition of an overcrowded housing unit is one that has more than one occupant per room. For each unit, rooms include living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, finished recreation rooms, enclosed porches suitable for year-round use, and lodgers' rooms. Excluded are strip or pullman kitchens, bathrooms, open porches, balconies, halls or foyers, half-rooms, utility rooms, unfinished attics or basements, or other unfinished space used for storage. A partially divided room is a separate room only if there is a partition from floor to ceiling, but not if the partition consists solely of shelves or cabinets.

Plumbing Facilities: Complete plumbing facilities are defined by the Census as including: (1) hot and cold piped water; (2) a flush toilet; and (3) a bathtub or shower. All three facilities must be located in the housing unit.

Very Low-Income: A household is classified as very low-income if it earns greater than 30%, but less than or equal to 50% of the area median family income.