Texas Needs More Affordable Housing

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Nationwide, there is not one county where there are enough affordable apartments for every extremely low-income (ELI) household. Texas is no exception.

An interactive map from the Urban Institute shows how just how wide the gap is between the number of ELI households and the number of apartments they can actually live in.

The gap between the two represents just how difficult it is for the lowest income Texans to find a home – not to mention the thousands of other low- and median-income Texans who still struggle to find apartments they can afford as rent in Texas cities skyrockets.

In Travis County, there are only 13 affordable apartments for every 100 ELI households. In Harris, Dallas and Tarrant Counties there are 17. Bexar county fares slightly better with 29. These counties that are home to Texas’s major cities are not actually the worst in terms of the gap between extremely low-income people and the affordable housing they need. There are four Texas counties that actually have ten or fewer affordable apartments per 100 ELI households – Kaufman, Brazos, Denton and Hays County. In 2006, there were no counties with ten or fewer.

In 2006, there were also several counties that had over 90 affordable apartments per 100 ELI households. Now the counties with the most affordable housing have, at most, 83 apartments per 100 ELI households.

The map also allows users to see what the affordability gap would look like without federal assistance. As it is, there are currently 29 affordable apartments for every 100 ELI households nationwide. Without federal housing programs, there would be only one affordable apartment available for 100 households. That’s because of the 3.3 million apartments that are available and affordable to the 11.5 million ELI households in the U.S., nearly all of them – 3.2 million – involve some sort of federal housing assistance. But federal housing programs simply aren’t funded at levels that allow them to reach the growing number of ELI households who needs affordable homes.

The housing market has bounced back from the Great Recession in many ways. But the affordable rental market has not been so fortunate. As more people trade homeownership for renting, the costs of apartments are going up across the board. And for the people who could barely afford to rent before, renting in most cities may now be completely out of reach.

About Author

Emily Cadik

Emily is a Texas ex-pat and proud Longhorn living in Washington, DC, where she remains connected to the Lone Star State through her work on BOR and her enthusiasm for breakfast tacos. She works on affordable housing policy, and writes about health care, poverty and other social justice issues.

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