Monday, May 16, 2011

New Data Useful for Analysis of Impediments/Opportunity Mapping: 3 County PDX Racial /Ethnic Rates of Use of HUD Housing Vouchers.

In discussions about the budget and program analysis what is often missing are discussions about who benefits from specific programs at the local level. 

For that reason I thought it might be instructive to look at the uses of HUD housing vouchers by race and ethnicity in the 3 county Portland Metro area.

I choose HUD housing vouchers because they are the largest source of HUD federal rental assistance in Oregon.

The data may be useful for Analysis of Impediments purposes but may have equal value in thinking about how to better use a large 3 Portland metro county existing housing resource [$60 Million+ annually @$6,000 per unit] to use the mobility feature of vouchers to encourage voucher holders to voluntarily tap into public agency efforts to better define areas of opportunity.

My analysis is found on the 3 page PDF HERE; it includes counts of renters and voucher holders, counts of all renters, and usage rates, all broken out by race and ethnicity. By dividing the total number of renters in racial and ethnic groups by the number of voucher holders in those groups I was able to estimate county level usage rates for individual groups and the share of vouchers used by different racial and ethnic groups.  Page 1 is a graph of voucher usage, pages 2-3 are detailed data tables.

My observations [3 county unless noted]:
  1. 3 County total of 10,539 vouchers/240,331 rental households=overall utilization rate of 4.38 vouchers for every 100 renter households.
  2. 1 in 5 African American renters (20.7%) use a HUD housing voucher; the rate varies from as low as 13.3% in Clackamas County to 22.4% in Multnomah County.  
  3. The White utilization rate is 3.8%  and varies from 3.3% in Multnomah County to 4.3% in Washington County.
  4. 2.8% of Hispanic renters use a HUD housing voucher; the rate varies from 1.9% in Clackamas County to 3.4% in Washington County. 
  5. Alaska Native/American Indian renters rate of usage is 5.6% , that varies from a high of 17.8% in Clackamas County to a low of 1.5% in Washington County.  
  6. The rate of use by Asian renters is 4.4%, and varies from 1.4% in Clackamas County to 7.3% in Multnomah County.
  7. For Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders the overall rate of usage is 5.5%, but that varies from a reported zero vouchers used by this renters in this group in Clackamas County to a rate of 9.6% in Washington County.
  8. Details on the % of all vouchers in use by racial and ethnic group are found in table 5 of the attachment. Table shows for example that 25% of the 10,539 vouchers in use in three Portland metro counties are used by African American renter households, [37% of all vouchers in Multnomah County] and 7.2% of all vouchers are used by Hispanic renter households. Data in this table can be compared to the share of all renters in each racial and ethnic group found in Table 4.
READ: Data Sources and Caveats
  1. Data Sources: For renter counts, ACS 2007-2009. For voucher renters in Clackamas and Washington County, HUD MTCS Tenant Characteristics Report; for Multnomah County /HAP, the most recent HAP Dashboard Report.[Updated Census 2010 renter data should become available late Summer or early Fall, 2011].
  2. In the MTCS report and HAP Dashboard report the data field for White is not clearly defined. The ACS data has a field for White Non Hispanic and I have elected to treat the MTCS and HAP Dashboard White data field as representing White, Non Hispanic renters. If that is not accurate that would under count the number of White renters and voucher holders, and change the usage rates for whites. When I do a revision to these tables after Census 2010 data becomes available I will attempt to refine this calculation; for now I would look at the estimates for White voucher holders and White usage rates as subject to a greater margin of error than other racial and ethnic groups. 
  3. IMPORTANT: While this data shows rate of use for ALL renters; the ideal comparison would be the rate of use for income eligible renters (generally below 50% MFI). As minority renters generally have incomes less than whites this would change the usage rates for some or all minority groups, but perhaps in a variable manner. [Not clear to me when and if this level of county level renter income data by tenure will be available from Census]. 
  4. Note that undocumented status would reduce the eligible universe for any group, and increase the usage rate.
  5. Data on vouchers used in Clackamas and Washington County are based on income verification forms during reporting period [1,503 and 2,705 units]; this is close to but less than entire universe of all voucher holders; inclusion of additional units would increase usage rates. HAP voucher data is from their monthly Dashboard report and should be close to complete.
  6. Usage rates generally are conservative and do not include all HUD rental assistance programs.
  7. Inclusion of Public Housing would increase the rate of use of HUD rental assistance by all groups; that data is available at the local level.
  8. Inclusion of Project Based rental assistance would also increase the rate of use of HUD rental assistance by all groups, but that data is not available on the local level.
  9. Other forms of HUD funded rental assistance like HOME and short term rental assistance programs are also not included in this analysis; those programs may offer lesser levels of income support than vouchers, public housing, and project based rental assistance. This data by racial and ethnic group is likely not available at the local level.
  10. As always, I consider this research a starting point and not an ending point and I welcome additional work by others to further refine this kind of analysis; readers can of course download ACS, MTCS, and HAP Dashboard data to construct their own analysis.  
Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

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