Correcting Houston’s extreme shortage of government subsidized housing should be top priority

Traditionally public and  Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers play a major role in providing affordable housing within major US cities.  This is not the case in Houston however.

In excess of 60 percent of the affordable housing stock in Houston is privately owned unsubsidized housing.  Only about 10 percent is Section 8 subsidized and less than 3 percent is public housing.  Approximately 23 percent is subsidized by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

The city of Houston has the third smallest amount of Section 8 and public housing per city resident in poverty of the twenty largest US cities, behind Phoenix and Detroit.  Houston had one unit of public housing or one Section 8 voucher for every 22.5 of its citizens below the poverty level.

Remedying the deficit of public and Section 8 housing should be at the top of the city’s agenda. Houston city officials need to make their case to the new Obama administration that especially in the wake of a huge influx of new citizens with extremely low incomes from hurricanes Katrina and Rita and with the additional problems created by the destruction of housing in Southeast Texas by Hurricane Ike the city merits a major increase in the amount of these traditional government housing subsidies.

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