In Harris County, 53% of residents worry whether they will be able to stay in their current home due to rising financial burden, according to a study by Rice University’s Kinder Institute of Urban Research released Oct. 19.
“Housing remains the most important asset for wealth generation in the United States, despite many claims to the contrary,” said Luis Guajardo, research manager for the Kinder Institute, during a press conference Oct. 19. “The importance of housing cannot be understated. It plays a very central role to the everyday lives that we lead here in Harris County.”
The data in the survey comes from 17,510 respondents living in Harris County, and the study was conducted by the Kinder Institute in conjunction with the Harris County Community Services Department.
Almost 500,000 households in the county are considered “cost burdened” by housing, meaning more than 30% of their income is used to pay for their residence. Individuals living in those households were employed by a variety of careers, including medical assistance, home health care, truck driving, administrative assistance, fast food, retail and customer service.
Of low income families, who are earning less than $50,000 annually with children, 18% have moved in the last three years due to high housing costs, and 21% wanted to move but could not find affordable housing.
“In this survey, we observed that low income families with children were three times [more] likely to have moved in the last three years compared to the overall county resident,” Guajardo said. “And that kind of constant turnover in a young family can lead to very disastrous effects in the long term in the education of those children.”
To meet the need for additional, more affordable housing for only 20% of the 500,000 cost-burdened residents, 8,174 housing units would need to be added annually through 2031, according to the study.
“This study is not the answer to the entire problem,” CSD Executive Director Adrienne Holloway said during the Oct. 19 press conference. “But it provides us with some great recommendations to address components of that problem.”
The view the "My Home Is Here" study, click here. Guajardo said the full, nearly 200-page study will be released to the public later this month.