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Public Housing Concentrations
National Averages

by Stephen Jones
23 October 2009

United States Public Housing Statistics:
The following demographic information was obtained from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), "Resident Characteristics Report" as of January 31, 2008.

Total U.S. population 307,744,007

Across the nation, there are over 2 million residents living in Public Housing, and another 4.7 million residents living in Section 8 Housing.

This amounts to:
2.18% of U.S. population receiving housing assistance
0.65% of U.S. population in Public Housing
1.53% of U.S. population in Section 8 Housing

Average household size:

2.2 people per unit/Public Housing
1.8 people per unit/Section 8 Housing

Houston Public Housing Statistics:

Houston population 2.2 million

Houston Housing Authority operates
4,000 Public Housing Units
15,000 Section 8 Units 

This amounts to:
1.6% of the Houston population receiving housing assistance
0.4% of the Houston population in Public Housing
1.2% of Houston population in Section 8 Housing

If the HHA operated at the national average of people receiving assistance, and residents per unit, as supplied by HUD, they would have:

8,800 people in Public Housing Units
27,000 people in Section 8 Units

Clearly, Houston is operating well BELOW the national average!

Galveston Public Housing Statistics:
The Galveston Housing Authority wants to own and operate 1,039 Public Housing Units (existing + proposed).

Proposed Rebuilding of 4 Sites: 569 Units
Magnolia Homes, 1601 Strand, 120      
Oleander Homes, 5228 Broadway, 206     Palm Terrace, 4400 Sealy, 104          
Cedar Terrace, 2914 Ball, 139         
The Oaks, 4300 Broadway, 40*

Existing sites: 430 Units
Gulf Breeze, 1211 Moody, 199
Holland House, 2810 61st, 157
The Oaks, 4300 Broadway, 40
Scattered Sites                    34 

*"September 23, 2009 – Low-income senior citizens in Galveston will get 40 new homes now that the Galveston Housing Authority Board of Commissioners has approved a $2.775 million plan to build 40 new homes, in 20 duplex units, for low-income senior citizens.

The plan will provide for new homes that will be built at the Housing Authority’s development called “The Oaks”, located at 4300 Broadway."

The GHA also currently manages 1,516 Section 8 Units (includes addition of 303 recently acquired vouchers for Katrina and Rita victims).

If GHA's housing units conform to the national averages of residents per unit, from HUD; their existing and proposed Units would house:

2286 people in Public Housing
2729 people in Section 8 Housing

This amounts to:
11.14% of the population of Galveston receiving housing assistance (assuming a population of 45,000); or 5.12 X the national average, and 6.96 X Houston's percentage!

5.08% of the population of Galveston in Public Housing; or 7.83 X the national average, and 12.7 X Houston's percentage!

6.06% of the population of Galveston in Section 8 Housing; or 3.99 X the national average, and 5.05 X Houston's percentage!

United States Public Housing Statistics for 20 High Density Urban Locations:
To get a more accurate portrayal of  Galveston's current concentration of Public Housing compared to other towns of a similar size, we need to remove some of the larger urban locations from the above statistics provided by HUD.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Public Housing Agency Profiles:

Housing Authority City/Public Housing Units/Section 8 Units
1. New York City 161,735  97,743 
2. Chicago 28,282  48,252
3. Philadelphia 16,572  18,588
4. Baltimore 14,452  16,262
5. Boston 11,938  12,189
6. Cuyahoga Metropolitan 11,369  14,266
7. Miami-Dade 9,505  16,543
8. Atlanta  9,321  16,610
9. Newark 8,715  5,389
10.  Washington D.C. 8,562  12,741
11. New Orleans  8,071  12,659
12. Los Angeles  7,543  44,810
13. Minneapolis 6,961  4,915
14. San Antonio  6,804  12,056
15. San Francisco  6,656  15,400
16. Seattle  6,237  8,484
17. Pittsburgh  6,062  7,067
18. Birmingham  5,611  4,660
19. Nashville  5,506  5,733
20. Houston  4,000  15,000

The listings above are in descending order by the number of Public Housing Units only. Due to the lack of correlation between Public Housing Units, and Section 8 Units, it is inevitable that some major markets with a significant stock of Section 8 Units are not represented.

The total number of clients in the 20 high-density urban concentrations, using the HUD statistics of 2.2 residents per Public Housing Unit, and 1.8 residents per Section 8 Unit yield; the 343,902 Public Housing Units represent about 756,584 residents, and the 389,367 Section 8 Units represent about 700,860 residents.

Therefore, U.S. statistics for smaller cities computed by excluding the 20 high-density urban locales above are:

1.63% of U.S. population receiving housing assistance
0.40% of U.S. population in Public Housing
1.23% of U.S. population in Section 8 Housing

The concentration of housing assistance in Galveston versus national averages when excluding the 20 high-density urban locations is shown below:

Galveston will have 6.82 X the national average of residents with assistance.

Galveston will have 12.57 X the national average of residents in Public Housing.

Galveston will have 4.90 X the national average of residents in Section 8 Housing. 

For Galveston to mirror sustainable national averages for smaller cities, the GHA should own, operate, and manage the following number of units:

83 Public Housing Units; NOT 1,039!

308 Section 8 Units; NOT 1,516!

Stop GHA!


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