Ven Diagram with income in the center, overlapped by 6 categories

Income can be affected by (going clockwise from the top): Race, Sexuality, Gender, Education, Disability, & Geographical Location. These categories can also overlap with each other.

Human life occurs within complex and overlapping socioeconomic, cultural, political, and environmental systems. Constructs within these systems are often fundamentally flawed by individual and societal bias that create barriers of injustice and inequality. Intersectionality is the concept that these complex and overlapping systems create individual and unique experiences of discrimination and oppression. The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines intersectionality as “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.

 

Housing insecurity disproportionately affect low-income communities, people of color, indigenous people, women, LGBTQ+, and immigrants. Intersectionality highlights the concept that all oppression is linked and that the interconnected nature of social categories like these, increase the likelihood of an individual experiencing discrimination and disadvantage.

Decades of racist and unequal housing policies have created a system defined by racial disparities. People of color are more likely than white households to be extremely low-income renters with 20% of black households categorized as extremely low-income renters compared to just 6% of white households.

The majority of low-income renters with high cost burdens, defined as paying more than half of their income for housing, are people of color. The struggle to pay rent increase the risk for instability, eviction, homelessness, food insecurity, poor health outcomes, lower academic achievement, and lower economic mobility. High opportunity neighborhoods provide one of the best opportunities for upward mobility, but, as a result of decades of intentional discriminatory public policy such as redlining, families of color disproportionately reside in lower-opportunity areas.

Where race intersects with other socially disadvantaged categories (ex. Low-Income, LGBTQ, etc.), these disparities are heightened. According to a 2019 study by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, poverty rates increase drastically along racial lines and among LGBTQ populations.

Stacked bar graph illustrating percentage of low-income renters with severe cost burdens by race/ethnicity

62% of low-income renters that pay > 50% of their income for housing are people of color: 28% Latinx, 24% Black, 6% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% Multiracial, and 1% American Indian/Alaska Native. (Center of Budget & Policy Priorities, 2014-2018 American Community Survey microdata & 2018 HUD area median Income limits)

 

Housing choice vouchers are an effective way to reduce housing instability and homelessness and provide low-income households with greater housing choice and mobility. Vouchers can also make a major contribution to lifting people out of poverty and reducing racial inequity: the housing affordability challenges that vouchers address are heavily concentrated among people with the lowest incomes and, due to a long history of racial discrimination that has limited their economic and housing opportunities, people of color.

Sorted bar chart illustrating a predicted drop in poverty rates across all races/ethnicities by expanding housing voucher programs and policies

The first percentage is current poverty rate, the second is expected rate from expansion of Section 8 Housing vouchers, and the third percentage is an expected rate from an expansion of vouchers plus policy changes. Black: 20.4% to 15.2% to 9.4% Latinx (Hispanic): 20.3% to 13.4% to 7% Multiracial/Another race: 14.1% to 11.1% to 7.7% White: 8.7% to 7.5% to 5.6% (Collyer et al., “Housing Vouchers and Tax Credits: Pairing the Proposals to Transform Section 8 with Expansions to the EITC and Child Tax Credit Could Cut the National Poverty Rate by Half,” Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy, October 7, 2020.)

Unfortunately, only 1 in 4 voucher-eligible families receive any type of federal assistance, with long waiting lists for vouchers across the county. The Fayetteville Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher waiting period is currently 3+ years.

 

As we near Juneteenth, and the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States African American freedom, the Fayetteville Housing Authority recognizes the ongoing racial disparities within our housing system and are united in the opposition to racism and hate, and vow to take action to end racism and prejudice in our community and beyond.