A new study from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC) shows that renters and homeowners across the New Orleans metro area are increasingly burdened by low incomes and average-to-high housing costs since the 2005 storms. Those in the Orleans and Jefferson parishes have been especially hard hit.
The study uses data from the 2004, 2007 and 2008 American Community Surveys (ACS) in order to identify pre- and post-Katrina housing costs, as well as to determine how the availability of rental housing is affecting the demand for rental homes that low income people can afford between 2007 and 2008. In addition to offering a picture of housing circumstances in the New Orleans area, this report will be useful to advocates interested in figuring out how to use ACS data in their own communities.
The authors found that while prices for both owned and rented housing units are generally at the same levels as national rates, incomes in the area are significantly lower than national averages. The median household income for renters in the Orleans Parish in 2008 was $24,355, compared to $31,891 for renters nationally.
GNOCDC reports that while the incidence of unaffordable housing cost burdens among low and very low income households was high in the metro area before the storm, post-Katrina housing cost burdens have only increased. Renters with severe housing cost burdens (those who pay more than 50% of household income for housing) have gone from 22% in 2004 to 31% in 2008.
Additionally, the study showed that while subsidized properties have been developed since 2007, this growth did not relieve the housing cost burden among renters. In Orleans Parish, the percent of renters spending 30% or more of their incomes on housing rose from 87% in 2007 to 95% in 2008 for renters making less than $20,000; for those making between $20,000 and $35,000 it went from 80% to 86%.
The study concludes that policies should be enacted that promote higher-wage jobs and that federal subsidies should be used to relieve housing cost burdens and produce more affordable housing. These policies would help to stabilize both the job market and the neighborhoods in New Orleans.
More information about the study, as well as results, can be found at http://www.gnocdc.org/HousingAffordability/ NewOrleansMetroAreaHousingAffordability2004-2008.pdf
ACS data is available on the Census website, www.census.gov.