Houston’s economy is not working for the working poor

The latest Federal Reserve data Houston paints a more rosy picture of the economy — 2% job growth and a 4.2% year-over-year increase in real hourly earnings in April.

The thing about numbers is that they work both ways.

A New United Way Report Finds a A 5% increase in the number of Houston-area households They struggle for basic needs. How does the economy work for the working class in the nation’s 4th largest city?

Affordability has long been a selling point for people willing to brave the Houston heat, humidity and highways, said Dan Potter with Rice University.

„Houston has a historically affordable place to live, and that means you can come here and work hard and you can have a middle-class life,” Potter said.

But one Annual Census of Houstonians At Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Potter recently found the lowest level of confidence in the economy since the 1980s.

„You start to see some cracks in the armor,” he said.

Potter said things are more difficult for those without a high school diploma. He specifically blames inflation Household expenses: Two-thirds of the local population could afford a house at the average price a decade ago, and one-third today.

Daisy Morales said students and their families are struggling to afford housing. He runs AAMA charter schools that serve low-income Houstonians.

„They all start living together, adding more families or individuals to one, you know, family unit, moving into less and less desirable areas,” Morales said.

During an outreach at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rev. Ed Gomes saw a similar trend.

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“These are not unemployed. These are service jobs, landscaping, all kinds of cleaning jobs, cafeteria jobs, people who work in the food industry in general,” Gomez said.

He said his church had to turn away 40 families’ cars a week from its food drive. This is evacuations in Harris County That’s well above the pre-pandemic averagePer data from Princeton University’s Discharge Laboratory.

„We’re seeing absolutely no improvement in evictions from landlords who want to raise rents for people who are locked into lower rents,” said Eric Quartler of Lone Star Legal Aid.

Quartler said many families are dealing with deaths or other crises and fall behind on bills. When landlords take them to court, getting future housing becomes even more difficult.

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