Hundreds of thousands of families in Houston and Harris County face a crisis of housing affordability. Half of all renters are burdened with high housing costs. The region does not have enough affordable multi-family housing to meet the need, only one of every 17 households receive some form of housing assistance.

Affordable Multi-Family Housing: Risks and Opportunities

Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium

The study was a collaboration between the Community Design Resource Center at the University of Houston, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, and Houston Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Houston LISC), and was generously funded by the Cullen Foundation as part of their commitment to the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium and to affordable housing across the region. 


The need for affordable housing in Houston and Harris County is at a crisis point. Between 2000 and 2014 the number of extremely low income renter households in Harris County rose from 119,594 to 164,065, a 37 percent increase. In the same time period, the number of adequate, affordable and available units grew from 38,023 to 45,048, an 18 percent increase, or half the growth rate of renter households competing for these units. In Harris County, extremely low-income households are defined by an income limit of $22,500 for a family of four. At that income level, housing would be considered affordable if the monthly rental cost was $560 or less.The combined risks of flooding and the accelerating loss of affordable housing across the City of Houston and Harris County point to the need to understand and consider strategies to address this crisis. To this end, this report provides an in-depth analysis of challenges and opportunities for preserving, rehabilitating, and constructing affordable multi-family housing in Houston and Harris County, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

CDRC Project Team: Susan Rogers, Director; Adelle Main, Assistant Director; Gabriela Degetau, Angelica Lastra, Jose Mario Lopez, Constanza Pena, Katherine Polkinghorne


Houston Chronicle

“Study: More than 475,000 Harris County residents live in units at risk of flooding” by Sarah Smith Houston Chronicle, March 21, 2019

Houston Public Media

“Report: Close To Half A Million Harris County Residents Live In Units At Risk Of Flooding,” Houston Public Media March 25, 2019